Gun safety law has evolved into a ban on firearms Our...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 06, 2001

Gun safety law has evolved into a ban on firearms

Our association applauds House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. for stepping forward and stating the obvious: The state's gun law, touted as a safety measure, has become a gun ban ("Concerns raised over Md. gun law," Dec. 28).

About 65 percent of the handguns approved for sale by the Maryland Handgun Roster Board are currently unavailable, mainly because of manufacturers' confusion over the new regulations.

Many distributors, fearful of lawsuits, are not shipping any handguns to Maryland. Such venerable manufacturers as Browning and Savage Arms have refused to comply with the new law, citing its confusing requirements.

Confusion about shell casings runs rampant in our industry. For example, police officers are exempt from the shell casing requirement, but that is moot if dealers cannot obtain handguns for officers without a shell casing included in the package.

Since, under Attorney General J. Joseph Curran's definition of a "manufacturer," we are in the "stream of commerce," why not allow firearms dealers to fire the handgun and obtain the needed shell casing?

The chain of custody would be solid and allow for stronger evidence in any court proceeding -- with the dealer who fired the shell as the state's witness.

Sanford Abrams, Baltimore

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

MSPAP tests aren't reliable or consistent

Bill Evers' recent column about the travesty of the MSPAP test should be required reading for all Maryland parents and educators ("MSPAP failing," Opinion

Commentary, Jan. 3).

The two primary considerations for any test should be validity and reliability: Does it measure what it purports to measure and do so with consistent results?

Obviously, these elements were of little concern to the MSPAP test's developers.

It is unconscionable that the Maryland State Department of Education has failed to release the MSPAP report prepared by Mr. Evers and his committee. What it is implying is: If the emperor isn't wearing any clothes, so what?

Arthur Laupus, Columbia

Roger Gregory belongs on the U.S. Court of Appeals

I support The Sun's call for swift action by the Bush administration on the nomination of Roger Gregory to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ("Filling Fourth Circuit need," editorial, Dec. 29)

But this is not because of the color of his skin or any political agenda. I have served with Mr. Gregory for several years on the board of Christian Children's Fund, and I have come to know a family man of compassion and integrity, who possesses a sound legal mind.

Mr. Gregory and I probably disagree on some ideological matters, but there is no finer person to take the court's open seat.

Thomas L. Hudson, Freeland

Pollard's incarceration is a miscarriage of justice

The recent letter "A pardon for Pollard would be unpardonable" (Jan. 2) just goes to shows how little is known about the Jonathan Pollard case.

To suggest that there is concern in our government that information wrongfully passed to Israel by Pollard has reached Russia is ludicrous. Pollard had absolutely no access to such information.

It has been detailed that the information he passed to Israel was related to Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi and Iranian nuclear, chemical and biological capabilities.

Furthermore, Pollard has expressed remorse for his actions dozens of times in various publications and in letters to President Clinton.

Perhaps The Sun could do an article on the facts of this case to eliminate the lack of knowledge of one of the greatest perversions of justice in the history of American jurisprudence.

Benjamin Insel, Baltimore

Rev. Jesse Jackson is no Bull Connor

Columnist Tony Snow undertook to give some "gratuitous advice" to President-elect George W. Bush ("A game plan for Bush team," Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 20).

One of his suggestions was to "eviscerate the race-baiters." In this respect, he compared the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. with "Bull Connor in segregation-era Birmingham."

In my opinion, equating Mr. Jackson's activities in Florida with Connor's in Birmingham is ugly and mean-spirited, besides just historically wrong.

Let us hope that Mr. Bush doesn't look to Mr. Snow for that kind of advice.

William H. Engelman, Baltimore

John Steadman: a class act whom Baltimore will miss

For the past 40 years, the Baltimore sports scene has been graced by the best of the best -- Chuck Thompson's play-by-play, Vince Bagli's on-air reporting and commentary and John Steadman's column in the News American, the Evening Sun and The Sun ("A Baltimore legend: champion of underdogs," Jan. 2).

Each of them helped create the bonds that exist between Baltimore fans and their sports teams.

But Mr. Steadman added a special ingredient. He embodied our town and gave verbal form to the Baltimoreness of the Colts, the Orioles, the Ravens and dozens of other professional, collegiate, scholastic and sandlot teams and athletes.

We have lost a true Baltimore original.

Benjamin Rosenberg, Baltimore

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