Carroll gun raffle highlights our right to self-defense

January 30, 2000|By Gregory Kane

BY NOW, Carroll County Republicans should be used to the self-righteous indignation and snide, knee-jerk liberal commentary about raising money by raffling off a handgun, which they announced plans for late last year. They should ignore the criticism and, perhaps, raffle off a couple of hundred handguns.

I'm quite sick of these liberal anti-gun nuts who insist handguns can't legitimately be used for self-defense. The final straw came Thursday night, when I tried to calm my distraught son who had just been robbed for, at least, the 10th time.

It happened on Cordelia Avenue in Pimlico about 11 p.m. My son was coming from the store when a Jeep Cherokee pulled up next to him and stopped. A guy with a 12-gauge shotgun got out, pointed the weapon at him and ordered, "Give up the jacket."

It was a beautiful $600 leather jacket, one that my son had put on layaway and made weekly payments on. The punk with the shotgun got back in the Cherokee. The driver pulled off and suddenly stopped. The door opened, and my son took off, not waiting around to see if the shotgun-toter -- apparently out to impress Maryland Attorney General Joseph Curran by eschewing a handgun -- would blast him. The thugs then turned onto Garrison Avenue and headed toward Reisterstown Road.

My son, 24, went ballistic, storming out of his apartment later to see if he could find the hoodlums. After getting the details from him and calming him down, I gave him my $40, down-filled winter coat.

"I'm going out to see if I can find these [youths] myself," I told him. I was thinking of taking my own shotgun with me. Maybe the bandits and I could have a shotgun-to-shotgun chat, a little tete-a-tete, come to an understanding, perhaps. When you do this kind of thing, you do it at the risk of your life.

Liberals won't have it that way. Curran has issued his clarion call for a total handgun ban. His act has been called courageous, but it's nothing more than a mealy-mouthed, weaselly ploy to cash in on the anti-gun mania running rampant in the country since the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. State Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman wants to introduce a bill criminalizing raffles with handguns as prizes.

But I noticed one thing as I walked coatless and furious in the bitter cold along Garrison Avenue on Thursday night: Hoffman and Curran were nowhere to be found. They don't have to walk Pimlico's streets on a daily basis and probably wouldn't on a rare occasion without a police escort. But, by advocating laws banning or controlling handguns, they're willing to criminalize dozens of young black men who carry handguns for protection.

And there are plenty of young black men walking the streets toting handguns for protection. In spite of the liberal propaganda that holds that a proliferation of handguns among the populace would result in carnage, these young men carry their weapons and exercise great restraint in using them. My son used to carry a handgun, until the state of Maryland made him a criminal.

It was in 1994 that he first got a handgun off the street for protection. A cop, claiming he looked suspicious, arrested him with the weapon on our front porch. His lawyer, David Solomon, told me he routinely represented young black men who carried handguns for protection. Two years later, police -- tipped off by a neighborhood stick-up boy -- went into my son's house, retrieved another illegal handgun and arrested him.

So, he was out there Thursday night weaponless and defenseless, victimized yet again because the state of Maryland says it's illegal for him to defend himself. The state of Maryland with its liberal, Democratic, anti-gun leadership riding roughshod over the Second Amendment can't protect Baltimore's young black men who are the most frequent victims of armed robbery and murder. But the state is adept at making it illegal for these men to protect themselves. The punk who stuck up my son had an accessory: the state of Maryland.

The cities and municipalities now suing gun manufacturers have it backward. It is crime victims who should be suing cities and municipalities for failing to protect their citizens. When the city, state or county says protecting yourself is illegal, they enter into an implicit contract in which they promise to protect you. When they don't, the contract is breached.

So here's to those Carroll County Republicans and their commitment to the notion that the liberty to defend yourself is inherent in the Second Amendment. I think I'll go to Carroll County this week and enter that raffle. If I win, I may pass the handgun along to my son as a gift.

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