More guns on streets would only bring more gun violence...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 09, 2000

More guns on streets would only bring more gun violence

It is unfortunate that Gregory Kane chooses to use inflammatory rhetoric and name-calling when he writes about handguns ("Carroll gun raffle highlights our right of self-defense," Jan. 30).

A thoughtful and well-reasoned column could be written without using blanket terms such as "self-righteous," "knee-jerk" and "liberal anti-gun nuts."

I would think a newspaper such as The Sun would promote a higher level of discourse on such an important issue.

Mr. Kane recounted the story of his son being robbed of a $600 leather jacket at gunpoint in the Pimlico neighborhood. Does he actually believe a handgun would have helped his "ballistic" son as he "stormed out of the apartment to see if he could find the hoodlums"?

Mr. Kane implies that gun control advocates like state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran and state Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman don't have to walk the streets of Pimlico, but that young black men (like his son) who live there need to carry handguns for their own protection.

As a parish pastor (and a gun control advocate), I do walk the streets of Pimlico and Park Heights. So, too, do many of my parishioners.

The community folks that I talk with daily are not yearning to carry handguns, nor do they relish the idea of more people carrying guns in the neighborhood.

Does Mr. Kane actually believe that the folks around Pimlico would be safer with more handguns on our streets?

I don't. If that makes me a "self-righteous, anti-gun nut," so be it.

I am sorry that Mr. Kane's son's $600 jacket was stolen. But if his son had been carrying a hand-gun for protection, it's quite possible he would have lost more than just his leather jacket that night. Thank God, he didn't.

The Rev. T. Gregory Knepp

Baltimore

The writer is pastor of St. John's Lutheran and Augsburg Lutheran Church.

Gregory Kane used the robbery of his son's jacket to launch an emotional and irresponsible attack on gun laws, various political figures and the state of Maryland.

Mr. Kane suggests the state was responsible for disarming his son, who as a result was surprised by a criminal wielding a shotgun and robbed of his jacket.

But suppose Mr. Kane's desires had been met -- and his son had possessed a handgun with which he had attempted to defend himself. Surely, this is would be a tragedy in the making.

Mr. Kane should be grateful that his son was "victimized" by the state of Maryland, and thus avoided a misguided attempt to defend himself with a handgun.

Is a life not worth more than a leather jacket, even a $600 jacket?

Mr. Kane also advocated vigilantism, suggesting that he could have "a shotgun-to-shotgun chat" with his son's robbers.

An attitude of contemptuous disregard for the law permeated the entire column.

Mr. Kane has much to answer for and many apologies to make for his intemperate personal attacks and outlandish statements.

Merrill E. Milham

Baldwin

Gregory Kane can sure talk the big talk, but I hope one day he does not have to walk the big walk -- as have many of us victims of handgun violence.

The end result of handguns is usually death. As a resident of Carroll County, I am appalled that its Republican Central Committee and GOP legislators are now in the business of promoting handguns.

If more people believed as state Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman and Attorney General J. Joseph Curran do, this country's handgun war would not exist.

Instead, Republicans sell raffle tickets -- and make money that is stained with the blood of all the children who have died from handgun violence.

John A. Price

Manchester

Less timid law enforcement would stem the shootings

We want to thank Caitlin Francke for her excellent article "Tough gun law, timid enforcement" (Jan. 30).

The facts she presented are a clear vindication for those of us, including the National Rifle Association, who have been saying that we need to enforce the laws against violence that we already have.

The responsibility for most of Baltimore's murders should be placed with the governor, lieutenant governor and the Baltimore state's attorney. They are charged with enforcing our criminal laws.

Maryland's laws requiring mandatory sentences for using a weapon while committing a felony were passed in 1972 under Gov. Marvin Mandel.

Subsequent officials have failed to enforce these laws. We citizens have been reaping the tragic consequences.

Donald Keefer

Lutherville

Eugene Meyer

Baltimore

The Sun has finally investigated the charge that criminals using guns are not being punished for those crimes ("Tough gun law, timid enforcement," Jan. 30).

This is something the National Rifle Association has been complaining about for years.

Now, gun manufacturers ought to sue the justice system for criminal negligence for allowing criminals access to guns.

Zev Griner

Reisterstown

I must commend The Sun for printing an excellent article, "Tough gun law, timid enforcement"(Jan. 30), on the true impact of Maryland's gun laws of violent crime.

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