Constitution allows limits to gun rights Cal Thomas...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 31, 2002

Constitution allows limits to gun rights

Cal Thomas' column emphasizing the historical background of gun rights as an individual right seems to forget that the Second Amendment grants a right to bear arms to a "well-regulated militia" ("Individual gun right grounded in history," Opinion Commentary, May 22).

Most legal scholars know this phrase gives state and federal governments the right to place reasonable restrictions on gun ownership to ensure the militia is "well-regulated." Criminals and others for whom gun ownership is dangerous thus are not generally allowed access to firearms.

Unfortunately, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's assertion that the Second Amendment gives an individual the right to have guns will encourage many more dangerous people to use the courts to gain access to lethal weapons.

The gun lobby is leading an attack on reasonable firearm regulations in the legal system. I hope reason will prevail and lead our nation away from such dangerous rhetoric.

Matt Fenton

Baltimore

The writer is president of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse Inc.

City neighborhoods are lucrative market

I live in the Howard Park area, and my neighborhood, like many in Baltimore, is in desperate need of a supermarket ("Baltimoreans are hungry for supermarkets," May 21).

For more than 30 years we did have one, a Super Pride store, but it closed. Now it seems to me any intelligent supermarket entrepreneur should see there is plenty of money to be made by a chain of supermarkets in the city.

There is definitely a need, and most city residents would gladly rather pay $2.69 for a gallon of milk at a legitimate supermarket instead of paying that much for a quart at some of these neighborhood stores, which, knowing they are the only stores many of us can conveniently get to, seem concerned only with ripping us off.

Rite Aid, Walgreens, 7-Eleven and many neighborhood variety stores all see the money that can be made selling products to city residents in their neighborhoods. Why can't big supermarket chains see the same thing?

It is a win-win situation. They make money, we get affordable, decent food and city residents, many of whom are elderly, do not have to go without because they can't get to a supermarket.

Murphy Edward Smith

Baltimore

Hungry for a grocer, not for demolition

There is no doubt Baltimore needs additional good supermarkets ("Baltimoreans are hungry for more supermarkets," May 21). I am a Waverly homeowner, and my neighborhood is one of the areas that is hungry, but not famished.

More than one year ago, the Giant food chain approached our community, and we welcomed them with open arms. Unfortunately, Giant has changed its original plans and now wants to pave over large areas of green space, bring down trees and demolish some fine late-19th-century homes that are in good condition.

Their attitude is no longer one of a visitor to our neighborhood, but rather of one who owns the neighborhood.

I'm all for revitalization and Smart Growth, but not like this. Just because we're in the city and in need of a supermarket doesn't mean we're either that desperate or stupid.

J. B. Hanson

Baltimore

Only imminent death will deter criminals

As any parent soon learns, a threat to a child must be two things: It must be real -- believable to the child -- and imminent -- it must happen sooner than later.

The Maryland death penalty statute is neither. Real? Hardly. Three men were executed in the past 20 years in a time when thousands of Marylanders have been murdered.

Imminent? Most convicted murderers sit on death row for years, decades even.

Remember that many murderers are career criminals, familiar with our "correctional institutions." They're not afraid of prison. They've "been there, done that."

What they are afraid of is death, real and imminent. Until we make it clear murderers will die, we will live with hundreds of murders a year.

David G. O'Neill

Princess Anne

Stay of executions protects the poor

Wealthy people are rarely, if ever, executed. The issue of class as well as race is inherent in every death penalty case.

A national moratorium is needed until courts can protect the poor as well as the rich against false conviction.

However, because this is not possible, Maryland's stay of executions should be made permanent.

Grenville B. Whitman

Baltimore

Breast-feeding isn't always best choice

As a pediatrician with 30 years experience, I take exception to the letter "Breast-feeding is a health issue" (May 16). While I and the American Academy of Pediatrics advocate nursing as best for most people, it is absolutely not the best choice for everyone.

Many mothers and babies fail to have successful nursing experiences for a variety of reasons -- and despite intervention and counseling with lactation specialists, many babies fail to thrive and gain weight during a very important period of brain growth.

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