Concealed-carry laws aid the law-abiding and help limit...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 03, 2001

Concealed-carry laws aid the law-abiding and help limit crime

The concerns raised in The Sun's article about allowing Michigan citizens to carry concealed handguns are misplaced ("New concealed handgun law ignites passions in Michigan," Aug. 26).

Thirty-two additional states (not the "about 20" mentioned in the article) allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns once they pass a criminal background check, meet an age requirement and pay their fee. About half the states require some type of training.

No state has rescinded such a law, and for good reason: Permit holders are extremely law-abiding, losing permits at a rate of tenths or hundreths of 1 percent.

The article also exaggerated opposition to the law in Michigan. While claiming, for instance, that "more than a dozen county prosecutors have resigned from their county's three-person gun licensing boards," the article fails to note that there are 83 counties in the state.

And, in asserting that term-limited lawmakers who passed the bill "were unconcerned about voter backlash," the article didn't mention that the majority of state legislators will be eligible for re-election in 2002.

Concerned Marylanders can look at Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, which have similar laws to Michigan's.

Interestingly, Maryland's violent crime rate is almost double Pennsylvania's, 2.4 times higher than Virginia's and 3.2 times West Virginia's.

Only neighboring Delaware, without such a concealed carry law, has a similar violent crime rate.

John R. Lott Jr.

New Haven, Conn.

The writer is a senior research scholar at Yale University's School of Law.

At least we can still read of states where freedom rules

I enjoyed reading Alec MacGillis' article on Michigan's new concealed-carry law ("New concealed handgun law ignites passions in Michigan," Aug. 26).

Having moved here from Pennsylvania five years ago, I'm still appalled at the exorbitant taxes coupled with the lack of personal freedoms in Maryland. But thanks to The Sun we can still read about the liberties afforded to the citizens of most other states.

Thank God the Lord and Democrats in Annapolis haven't abridged our right to know, at least not yet.

David B. Kobus

Lexington Park

Insulting names, mascots show Indians no respect

Here's a message to the writer of the column "Forget about team names; fight for Indians' quality of life"(Opinion

Commentary, Aug 23): American Indians get to decide for themselves what's an honor and what's an insult.

Most American Indians do not want the "honor" of being the mascot of a school, sports team or corporation. The fact that there are serious problems in the American Indian community does not make the use of mascots less of an insult.

Mr. Beckenstein says "Redskins" is not a derogatory term. My dictionary and a half-dozen others disagree.

It's a sad commentary when players need to call themselves "Redskins," in the words of Mr. Beckenstein, "to make them feel good about themselves and project a favorable image to the fans."

If they want to feel good about themselves, let them use an insulting name for their own race or religion.

Gerald Pressman

Falls Church, Va.

The writer is the director of the nonprofit group Find Another Name.

Can Myron Beckenstein cite a source for the assertion that, "Even Redskins, while slang, is not a derogatory term"?

There are slurs for every ethnic group, especially minorities. If "redskin" is just slang, what does Mr. Beckenstein think is the pejorative for an American Indian?

And can you imagine a comparable "Washington Darkies" emblazoned across the nation's capital on caps, jackets, T-shirts and bumper stickers?

Thomas H. Hartman

Columbia

Banning Indian names is political correctness run wild

The decision by the Montgomery County Board of Education to ban American Indian names for school teams is just another example of political correctness ("Schools prohibit Indian themes," Aug. 29). How ridiculous is this going to get?

My great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee. I'm very proud of that heritage, but I don't find Indian names offensive in the least. I think people who do are very insecure.

I have a suggestion for all of those people: Get over it. Grow up.

Concentrate on the issues that really matter, such as freedom of speech.

Raymond Teal

Catonsville

I have just one question for members of the Montgomery County School Board.

How many of you will be giving up your tickets to Washington Redskins games, or at least throwing away mugs, towels or many other items with the Redskins logo on them?

Rob Mandelberg

Owings Mills

I guess "Hail to the Chief" is out, according to the Montgomery County School Board.

Tom Dreisch

Hunt Valley

Editorial on books omits local treasure

The Sun's editorial "Bring on the books" (Aug. 29) left off the most important book to come out of Baltimore in decades: The Corner, by David Simon.

Bob Brown

Sparks

Council chamber is no place for selfish boxing promoter

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