Would smarter guns keep young people from being shot...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 18, 2000

Would smarter guns keep young people from being shot?

In response to The Sun's editorial "Smarter guns or none" (March 2), I am not only incredulous at the content of the editorial, but at the title.

The Sun's assertion that Kayla Rolland is dead because of "the profusion of weapons for murder in American homes" is of no merit whatsoever.

Kayla Rolland is dead because her classmate lived in an environment void of any moral instruction, other than what feels right at the moment. The boy who shot her was just imitating the behavior of those with whom he lived.

This nation does not need more gun-control laws that impede the right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and have very little, if any, effect on criminal behavior.

Not one of these proposals would have prevented the Michigan first-grader from killing his classmate.

The gun he used was stolen. If there had been a trigger lock on it, the thief would have removed the lock.

Smarter guns are not the answer. The answer is smarter politicians who base their decisions upon logic and the Constitution, not emotion.

The answer is smarter judges and attorneys, whose primary concern is the welfare of the public and not the self-esteem of the perpetrator.

The answer is a smarter press that reports the facts only, rather than pushing a particular agenda.

Do not forget that the Second Amendment is as much an untouchable right as is the first. In fact, the preservation of the Frst Amendment is wholly dependent upon the preservation of the second.

David D. Feeney

Baltimore

Given all the talk about trigger locks and "smart guns," am I the only one who finds it absurd that a gun would be designed with a trigger that could be pulled by a 6-year old?

William P. Jenkins

Bel Air

Cartoon was insulting to supporters of gun rights

There is so much good the fourth estate could do for our country and the world, but it continues to publish garbage at the least opportunity, in the most delicate of matters.

The cartoon by Mike Lane reading, "Guns don't kill children, children kill children" followed by "NRA Gun Lobby" is certainly a case in point (Opinion Commentary, March 9).

Why not do a review of the causes of such tragedies and provide thoughtful, unemotional suggestions for solutions?

The constant put-downs of people and organizations that aren't at the moment politically correct or allied with The Sun's editorial mind-set are shameful at best.

K. Dale Anderson Randallstown

Don't turn sales tax into a transit tax

What The Sun's editorial "The Transportation Gap" (March 7) calls the "head in-the-sand approach" is really the fiscally responsible approach to increase transportation funding.

House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr.'s proposal to shift 20 percent of sales tax revenue from the General Fund to the Transportation Trust Fund would only raise $10 billion of the $27 billion that is estimated to be needed for transportation over the next 20 years.

Where do you get the other $17 billion? Raise taxes for sales, income, gasoline and on corporations -- or all of the above.

Mr. Taylor gave us a preview of this last December, when he said his proposal would require a sales tax increase in 2003 to protect non-transit programs.

A one penny (20 percent) increase in the sales tax in 2003 would offset the state's 10 percent income tax reduction and raise serious concerns about the equity of Maryland's tax system.

Retailers do not want the sales tax to become a transit tax, especially in this time of competition from tax-free Internet sales.

One person's "golden opportunity," may be another person's Trojan Horse.

The responsible course is to shift surplus general funds to the transportation trust through the annual budget process.

Tom S. Saquella

Annapolis

The writer is president of the Maryland Retailers Association.

Threat to close could win aid for state's private schools

I am a product of the Catholic school system. I raised my children in this system and they are now raising their children in it.

I think it is time for Catholic school parents and educators to act: Notify the state today that, beginning in September, all Catholic elementary school students will report to the public schools.

Then see what kind of reaction they get, from Annapolis and elsewhere.

Gerard F. Petrik

Baltimore

Bill would prevent gene-based discrimination

Recent advances in genetic science have resulted in an explosion of knowledge about human DNA and genetic traits.

Some employers have been using such information to deny employment or promotions or health insurance to individuals who carry certain genetic mutations, even when these mutations have no bearing on whether the individual can do the job.

There are no federal laws or regulations strong enough to protect individuals from this kind of discrimination.

But there is now a bill pending in the Maryland General Assembly which would offer our citizens this protection.

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