Gun board has trouble finding new junk to ban My...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 30, 2002

Gun board has trouble finding new junk to ban

My remarks were misrepresented in a recent article concerning the Handgun Roster Board ("Ehrlich clarifies gun remark," Sept. 18).

What I stated was that the board may have outlived its usefulness, not that it had done so already.

Over the last several years, the board has banned very few handguns from sale in Maryland.

In point of fact, the board has only banned 29 models of guns since its inception in 1988. Meanwhile, it has approved for sale some 3,500 models of handguns.

What the Handgun Roster Board is doing now is approving the same models over and over. Minor caliber changes, different barrel lengths and newly designed sights require a new petition for approval for a previously approved firearm.

And even if the board were dissolved (something a governor could not accomplish without the General Assembly passing a law), the handguns it has banned would remain banned from sale in Maryland.

The committed members of the Maryland Handgun Roster Board have accomplished the mission given to them in 1988: to remove from sale any handgun models that are unsafe and poorly made.

Fourteen years later they are having a hard time finding junk to ban.

Sanford Abrams

Baltimore

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

Take new approach to gun violence

Reading in "Guns and votes" (editorial, Sept. 17) that "Over the last 14 years, Maryland governors, members of the General Assembly and voters have approved a succession of tougher gun control laws" reminds me of the old definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Given the more than 300 people shot dead most years in Baltimore, how can anyone say "tough gun laws" with a straight face?

Gun crime is clearly a problem that hasn't been solved.

For The Sun to use it as a hot-button issue against Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. because he had the courage to suggest there might be a better approach reveals a bias many of us consider unhelpful.

Les Taylor

Baltimore

Selective outrage on funds to churches

I'm confused. When President Bush mentions faith-based initiatives and grants, there is a hue and cry concerning the separation of church and state.

But now we know the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention has granted thousands of dollars to Maryland churches, and no one is complaining ("Anti-crime office puts most funds in community groups," Sept. 19).

Where is the consistency?

David Jackson

Hampstead

Act to rid world of terrorist threat

President Bush has been telling us for months that Iraq does evil things and will do more of them in the future. I believe him.

He says he is going to do something about it. I am not sure I believe him about that. To the extent that the president talks and does not act, he suffers a loss of integrity.

The government of Iraq and the other governments that the United States lists as sponsors of terrorism should be deposed by whatever force needs to be used.

In 2004, I don't want the State Department to have any reason to issue a list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

Jack Crawford

Silver Spring

Where lawyers will strike next

Next, they'll be suing the trailer parks for causing the tornadoes ("Parents of obese teens file suit against McDonald's," Sept. 19).

Arthur Gudwin

Severna Park

A double standard on racial remarks

Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich suggests a debate with Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend about African-American issues, and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume practically has a conniption ("NAACP calls debate on black issues `an insult,' " Sept. 18).

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer says to fellow Democrats, "I want you to stop shucking and jiving," and hardly a peep is heard in protest ("Democratic leaders convene to rescue Townsend campaign," Sept. 19).

I dare say that, if you switched the names on the above remarks, Mr. Ehrlich would be called a raving racist and Mr. Hoyer would be called empathetic on African-American issues.

Paul N. Jackson

Hunt Valley

Don't blame O'Malley for Townsend's woes

The state's Democratic leadership has sharply criticized Mayor Martin O'Malley for not doing more to sell Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to Maryland voters ("Democratic leaders convene to rescue Townsend campaign," Sept. 19).

Isn't this the same leadership that worked hard to discourage the mayor from entering the race, ostensibly because Ms. Townsend was such a strong candidate with broad support, millions in her campaign war chest and unlimited endorsements?

And now the leadership wants to blame Mr. O'Malley.

The Democratic voters of Maryland should have picked the gubernatorial nominee.

They didn't, and now the party chiefs need to show the electorate the wisdom of their choice.

To lay the blame on Mr. O'Malley is wrong.

Hans Miller

Towson

Sharing the cost of stadium's name

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