Trigger locks, education foster gun safety Thank you...


January 21, 2001

Trigger locks, education foster gun safety

Thank you for The Sun's wonderfully informative article on Project Home Safe, the program which gives free trigger locks to communities that desire them ("Gun owners have embraced Maine trigger-lock giveaway," Jan. 14).

Project Home Safe is a voluntary program of the National Sports Shooting Foundation whose purpose is to promote safe firearms handling and storage through safety education and the distribution of free gun-locking devices.

This program coincides perfectly with the spirit of Maryland's new law requiring trigger locks on all new guns sold by Maryland dealers in the near future.

More important than the locks themselves, though, is the information about safe storage and use of guns.

Several communities in Maine apparently have enthusiastically implemented the program with great success. It's too bad that this program has not received the same response in Maryland.

I have been attempting to get Howard County to adopt the program, but the county solicitor has determined that "there were risk management considerations" and determined that "it would not be a good idea" to adopt the program."

Apparently, Maine and President George W. Bush differ from Howard County in that both see a public benefit from distributing free gun locks to members of the community.

Let's hope that, upon reconsideration, Howard County Executive James N. Robey will agree with Mr. Bush and the more than 275 counties and cities in 43 states (including the entire state of Oklahoma) that this project provides a benefit to the public -- increased gun safety -- that is worth the costs.

Douglas A. Dribben


Charges of racism need substantiation

We should remind ourselves that the present Columbia Council, which has been parading its dysfunctionality before the residents with its enfeebled attempts to hire a CEO, is the very same council that almost annexed a large new Rouse Co. development (the Key Property) to Columbia.

Someone in the firmament must have looked kindly on the residents of that property and decided that their sins were not so egregious as to deserve management by the Columbia Council.

The Key Property would fare better if it were annexed to Kurdistan. The most disturbing council development has been the charges of racism -- flung like a handful of dung by some of the council members into the faces of other members ("Search reveals racial divide," Jan. 12).

Racism is a very serious moral crime. Charges of racism should no more be made without substantial supporting evidence than accusations of incest or embezzlement from the church. Accordingly, it is high time for the accusers to step forward and present their evidence of racism to the residents of Columbia.

In the event that such evidence is not forthcoming, the accusers resign from the council.

Barry Blyveis


Housing for seniors is hardly a blight

I find it hard to express my surprise and indignation upon reading that residents of expensive houses oppose a nearby development of smaller houses for "active seniors" ("Elkridge: Neighbors balk at plan for houses," Jan. 7).

The comment of one area resident, "It's like slamming a trailer park across the street," completely dumbfounded me. Does this mean that any house smaller than the expensive tract mansions now springing up all over the county must automatically be deemed squalid?

This sort of thoughtless judgment is bad enough, but to oppose modern, comfortable housing suitable for older people is selfish beyond belief.

And, as for "fitting in with what's around it," that stretch of Montgomery Road was until recently dominated by older houses, some ranch houses, but others quite small and much older, most of which are still occupied. What about their owners' property values and tax bills?

The other fears expressed in the article are contradictory, such as the statement that "not only seniors" could eventually live in these $200,000 houses.

So what? I would think that a neighborhood with a mix of older people and younger families would be a healthy, diverse one.

As for the area being "not large enough to provide much of a community," this parcel sits about midway between two shopping centers.

What sort of community do the people in the big houses across the street constitute? These homeowners want the proposed development to contain more spaces for "barbecues and dances."

Suppose they form a community association with the active seniors and open their big houses to their neighbors?

If more and more trees must be cut down and topsoil removed to build more houses in what was once a pleasantly wooded area, I'd much rather see the space occupied by healthy, active people the age of my parents and grandparents; I see quite enough yuppies as it is.

Mary E. Butler

Ellicott City

Village of Long Reach remains safe and vibrant

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