Don't blame dealers of guns for violence plaguing our...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 01, 2002

Don't blame dealers of guns for violence plaguing our streets

In his column "Step up effort to get guns off the streets" (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 17), Daniel Webster blames "shady gun dealers" for the gun violence in our state and city.

Without producing one piece of proof, he proclaims that "some dealers allow or facilitate many illegal gun sales."

The only dealer prosecuted for illegal sales in the last five years was acquitted by a jury. But that is not good enough for Mr. Webster, because he has "evidence." Forget about that pesky guarantee that we are innocent until proven guilty.

Firearms dealers do not complete background checks. That is left to the Maryland State Police, and they are very thorough. Dealers can only verify the state issued photo identification used to fill out the three separate state and federal forms necessary to purchase a handgun.

Fancy licensing schemes wouldn't stop illegal third-party sales, because the third party always has a clean record.

Members of our association have assisted in scores of prosecutions of felons attempting to illegally purchase firearms. We have testified in dozens of cases for state and federal prosecutors.

It's hard to imagine these are the same people Mr. Webster characterizes as "shady."

Sanford Abrams

Baltimore

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

Best way to protect kids is to turn off the television

I am as upset as Cal Thomas about the sex, violence and other bad images on TV ("Congress must ban liquor ads from TV," Opinion Commentary, Dec. 20). But when I've had enough, I shut off the TV.

As a parent, I'll continue to monitor not only the TV but also the human influences on my child, so she will not smoke or drink when she's underage. Millions of other parents do the same thing.

Shut off the TV and tell your kids not to drink. It's cheaper and more effective than asking Congress to do it.

Maura O'Hare Hill

Annapolis

BP's plans demonstrate little respect for Waverly

The Sun's article "BP has ambitious development plan" (Dec. 19) totally ignored the movement for community development based on residents' needs and the uniqueness of Greenmount Avenue.

The plan looks like one for an Interstate 95 travel plaza, with too much asphalt and too many gas pumps. This neighborhood does not need another convenience store with inflated prices and minimum-wage jobs.

In addition, two murals would be destroyed, which cannot simply be "recommissioned elsewhere," as the British Petroleum representative suggested.

A survey of the surrounding community found more than 90 percent of residents opposed to the BP plan. But BP has shown (in Waverly and in other communities) that it is not willing to change its plans based on community input.

I encourage The Sun to cover the alternative plans that have been proposed for this block.

Lorig Charkoudian

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Community Mediation Program.

No intolerance attends the belief in God's word

It's interesting that many people today feel that merely preaching God's word is somehow intolerant ("Intolerant church isn't qualified to throw stones," letters, Dec. 19).

Admittedly, the Bible says God is intolerant of sin, and of man deciding for himself what truth is. But God says there is but only one way, one truth and one life; and He sent His messiah to be the way to know God. When people pick for themselves the way to heaven, they demean the price God paid for us on the cross.

God doesn't send anybody to hell; they choose to go there freely when they reject the way God made for them.

If you confess with your mouth to the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Just ask God into your heart and get to know Him.

How intolerant is that?

Bob Adams

Pasadena

Why spend money to give terrorist a `fair trial'?

I constantly marvel at our priorities.

We have homeless and hungry people in our country - American citizens. Yet we spend millions to protect and give a "fair trial" to the likes of Zacarias Moussaoui, a man dedicated to seeing all of us dead ("Suspect linked to Sept. 11 terror is ordered held without bail in Va.," Dec. 20).

I have a better idea: After a 15-minute hearing before a single magistrate, put a bullet in his brain and deliver his body back to France (which seems to want him so badly) so it doesn't pollute American soil. Take the millions saved on judges, lawyers, guards and the chefs who prepare his meals and spend it on American citizens who are homeless and hungry.

Elliott Factor

Columbia

More thoughtful spending would better show patriotism

The chorus of calls for Americans to go shopping to give our economy a boost undermines both our families and our nation's security. It is time we examine the implications of taking on more financial stress, and to clarify what purchases would really strengthen our country.

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