State must require that handguns be childproofI want to...


June 14, 1999

State must require that handguns be childproof

I want to commend Gov. Parris N. Glendening for his commitment to legislation that prohibits the sale of handguns that are not childproof. The support of both the governor and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend gives the bill a significant boost ("3-year-old injured by gun he found," June 7).

For the past four years, I have sponsored childproof handgun legislation as one sensible approach to accidental child handgun injury and death.

Although no state has enacted such a law, more than 20 local jurisdictions have, including Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Similarly, a provision in the juvenile crime legislation that the U.S. Senate recently passed requires gun merchants to make safety locks available.

In Maryland, a 21-member task force appointed by the governor will examine various child-proofing technologies, including an internal lock and push-button combination locks.

The National Rifle Association and similar organizations that traditionally oppose gun control insist that manufacturers have not yet developed a reliable child-proof technology.

But, while it may not be state-of-the-art internal devices, the technology exists now tochildproof guns.

And I am certain that when states begin passing laws to require child-safe handguns, better technology will materialize, as it did when governments demanded seat belts and air bags in cars.

We look to government to lead the way on safety. It must demand that only child-safe guns be sold.

We dare not wait for the perfect technology when 1,500 children a year are victims of accidental shootings and 200 children are killed accidentally every year. In 1998, 21 Maryland children were killed by handguns, up from 16 in 1997.

I hope Maryland will be among the first states to require child-proof handguns. It is a statement that must be made.

Ann Marie Doory, Baltimore

The writer represents the 43rd District in Maryland's House of Delegates.

GOP is out of touch on guns and tobacco

What has happened to my Republican Party -- the Grand Old Party that I have supported for more than 50 years?

In the past, it stood for solid thinking, fair treatment of business and the realization that it is only those who control money who can invest to provide jobs, production and opportunity for others.

Now, I look at Washington and see the Republicans acting like wild-eyed radicals on gun control and tobacco regulations. They have abandoned thoughtful approach to these problems, adopting instead a knee-jerk insistence on perpetuating the status quo.

The sad part of this, politically, is that Republicans have parted company with the great majority of the American public, who see the need for drastic change.

How can they be so blind? Don't they read the papers, see the polls and talk to people outside of Washington?

They are like the die-hard radicals who take an unsupportable position and won't listen to any other reasoning.

So now the Republicans have lost the initiative to the Democrats on these issues. If this doesn't change soon, voters will see to it that a Congress is in place that will take action on tobacco and guns.

As a longtime Republican, I hope that party members open their eyes and see the light before it is too late.

Will A. Hubbard. Timonium

Conservatives out of touch in the budget battle, too

Karen Hosler's excellent article "Rifts weaken House GOP," (June 7) did more to expose the fallacies of the so-called "Republican Revolution" than even the many blunders perpetrated in the House of Representatives in the name of conservative ideological purity.

Especially telling were the remarks of Tony Rudy, an aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, the GOP whip, who said, "Long before impeachment, Clinton proved to us he can't be trusted. We know he's going to hold us up for as much as he can. We're just trying to minimize the damage."

Mr. Rudy and the rest of these neo-conservative crybabies seem to think the wrangling over the nation's budget is some kind of frat party game. Luckily, the president knows these budget battles are not personal business: They are the people's business.

Maybe some day Mr. DeLay and the rest of the GOP amateurs will realize the work of a true politician calls for compromise rather than stubborn, ideological opposition.

It's my guess that this realization will come when they rejoin us citizens on the sidelines, where they belong.

Joe Roman, Baltimore

If GOP is open, it should accept a gay ambassador

If Republican Del. James Ports Jr. truly believes that his party is "open-minded and willing to welcome new members," as he claimed in his letter "State GOP reaches out to independents and others," (June 9) why hasn't he publicly condemned the GOP's national leadership's refusal to even hold a vote on the nomination of James C. Hormel as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg?

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