Would gun control have prevented Los Angeles shooting?The...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 17, 1999

Would gun control have prevented Los Angeles shooting?

The Sun's editorial about the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles again called for more gun control laws ("More innocents, more gunfire, more pain," Aug. 12). Does The Sun really think that any gun control would have prevented Buford Furrow Jr. from carrying out his plan to kill Jews?

No law would have stopped this neo-Nazi from doing what he did -- no waiting period, background check, smart gun technology would have stopped him from shooting children. He is clearly a sociopath without regard for human life.

But he could have been delayed. He was on parole for second-degree assault, after only serving five months of his sentence. Had parole been abolished in Washington state, he would have been required to spend several years, not a few months, in prison.

How can we allow the justice system to place violent felons back on the streets of our cities to prey on people?

Why won't The Sun support abolishing parole for violent criminals (as Virginia has done)?

Why can't Baltimore City adopt a "zero tolerance" crime program, modeled after the one that has reduced crime significantly in New York City?

Why won't our legislators pass laws to crack down on violent, repeat offenders and get them off our streets for good?

Instead The Sun and our governor focus on non-existent, cost ineffective, so-called "smart-gun technology." Something is very wrong with this picture.

Sanford Abrams

Baltimore

The writer is vice president of the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association Inc.

The mass shooting at a California daycare center, an admitted hate crime perpetrated by a man with close ties to neo-Nazi organizations, once again provides a chilling reminder that the nation needs a strict federal weapons registration law.

The do-nothing Congress has caved in repeatedly to the National Rifle Association (NRA), which contributes heavily to its friends in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

The NRA falls back on the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

But when the Bill of Rights was ratified more than 200 years ago, America was a vastly different nation than it is today.

On the threshold of the 21st century, we find ourselves in a violent and dangerous society where crime is rampant and guns are everywhere.

If it was put to a national referendum, is there any doubt that the American people would overwhelmingly support a tough gun law?

How many more people must lose their lives before Congress gets the message?

Albert E. Denny

Baltimore

Freedom should be revoked for those who practice hate

When personal freedom enables a person or a group of people to disseminate hatred or incite violence, and groups openly advocate hate on the Internet and people are allowed to demonstrate in neo-Nazi uniforms and display the swastika, then we need to deny those people the freedom to do these things.

When violent movies, TV shows, videos and computer games glorify war, killing and violence, it is time to deny them the freedom to so glorify violence.

When people are allowed to arm themselves and accumulate virtual arsenals of weapons, it's time to deny that freedom.

No one or no group should enjoy the freedom to threaten or endanger the lives of others. No one should have the freedom to attack anyone else because of their skin color, religious affiliation, ethnic background, sexual orientation, political views or for any other reason.

Freedom is wonderful when exercised properly. Anyone who abuses people does not deserve such a precious privilege.

The license of a drunken driver can be revoked. Why don't we revoke the freedom of hate groups?

I. F. Siegel

Baltimore

O'Malley's experience can help him fight crime

Crime is quickly becoming the central issue in the Baltimore mayoral campaign. Some in Baltimore are afraid of the effect "zero tolerance" policing would have on our streets.

Many see the policy as abusive and even racist. They argue that "zero tolerance" tramples rights and makes police departments tyrannical.

Some of the same people have characterized Councilman Martin O'Malley as hypocrite for promulgating a "get tough on crime" agenda, even as he has served as a private defense attorney.

But isn't it obvious that crime and quality of life issues in Baltimore must be addressed to prevent the surrounding counties from drowning under the refugees fleeing the city at a rate of 1,000 a month?

We have to get tough on crime. We have to improve life in the city.

Who better to lead the fight against crime than a former prosecutor and defense attorney? Having faced the dilemma from both sides of the fence is a strength for Mr. O'Malley, not a weakness.

Eric Webb

Baltimore

Henson's a scapegoat for Bell campaign's failings

The firing of City Council President Lawrence A. Bell's campaign organizer, Julius Henson, is another political ploy by Mr. Bell's camp ("Bell fires aide who organized rally disruption," Aug. 10).

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