Show of support for Smart Guns

The Political Game

Demonstration: Displaying the latest in gun-safety technology, the governor offers "proof" gun locks work.

March 28, 2000|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

SO THERE WAS GOV. Parris N. Glendening at park police headquarters in Silver Spring last week, trying to build support for his Smart Guns legislation in Annapolis.

The governor even had a so-called smart gun on hand for the event. This one had a magazine that locked into place, rendering the gun useless to anyone who didn't know the combination.

Moving to demonstrate the latest in gun-safety technology, Glendening displayed the .40-caliber Glock.

"You have now locked the gun," he told reporters and spectators. "The magazine is unable to come out. But, more importantly, it's unable to shoot."

Then he tried to unlock it -- once, twice, a third time. Park police officers tried to help as the nervousness in the room soared.

The governor, who received a crash course in the gun moments before the news conference, had forgotten it had a catch -- a push button on the grip that released the magazine.

"This is proof that it works," he said, fumbling to pull the magazine out as photographers clicked away. It seemed like an hour passed, though it was only a minute or two.

"Uh, we know it works," he said, smiling sheepishly. "I did it three times out front."

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend looked on as the chief executive, with assistance, finally removed the magazine. "Well, that's actually the point," she said, "to make sure only people who know how to shoot use the gun."

The governor's gun problems were short-lived. Within days of the event, a watered-down but still significant version of his gun bill had secured passage in the state Senate.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller downplayed Glendening's travails with the gun. "I wouldn't want to see Parris play basketball either," Miller said.

Remark dashes labor hopes for bargaining bill this year

Townsend put a bag of tenpenny nails in the coffin of a labor bill last week -- a proposal to give collective bargaining rights to employees of Maryland's public colleges.

After pushing for such legislation last year, the Glendening administration has watched mutely as the bill languished in a Senate committee this session.

In brief remarks to a gathering of labor activists outside the State House, Townsend promised to fight for the bill "next year" -- deflating many in the crowd who had held out hope for this year.

Ronald Dworkin emerges as hopeful for GOP chair

Another candidate for chairman of the Republican Party has surfaced: Baltimore physician Ronald W. Dworkin.

Dworkin was a co-founder of the Calvert Institute for Policy Research, the conservative think tank in Baltimore. He also takes credit for raising about $100,000 for Ellen R. Sauerbrey's gubernatorial bid in 1998.

"There are reasons why Maryland is a difficult state for Republicans, but I strongly believe that our ideas can and will prevail here," Dworkin said recently in a letter to members of the GOP state central committee.

No clear front-runner has emerged in the race to succeed Richard D. Bennett, who will leave the chairman's post after the November election.

Party Vice Chairman Michael Steele and former Executive Director Christopher R. West also are interested in the job.

Scholarship fund for disabled will honor Cardin's son

Michael Cardin, a lawyer and son of Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, died at age 30 nearly two years ago. Now his relatives and admirers have organized a scholarship fund in his honor.

The fund is based at the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities, which coordinates private schooling for emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children. Michael Cardin's mother, Myrna Cardin, used to be executive director of the group.

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