Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 27, 2003

NRA has right to communicate with members

On Oct. 19, The Sun printed two columns concerning a so-called National Rifle Association (NRA) enemies list ("Gun control? How about gun elimination?" Oct. 19, and "It's tempting to be on NRA enemy list," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 19). I serve on the NRA's board of directors and would like to take this opportunity to give readers the facts.

A listing of celebrities and companies we consider unfriendly to our issue has been posted on the NRA Web site for more than six years. That makes it old news.

And as a membership organization of more than 4 million people, we have the right to tell our members about people who are not our friends. That right is guaranteed us by the First Amendment.

The celebrities on the list don't just lend their names to newspaper ads. Many donate heavily to organizations dedicated to the elimination of the private ownership of firearms. Or do commercials and testify for anti-gun bills in Congress and in various states.

That is their right under our form of government. But gun owners also have rights.

The NRA has never called for a boycott of any of these celebrities or organizations. We would not do that. However, if people are uncomfortable being so listed, maybe they should reconsider their support for the elimination of one of our basic rights.

And the amount of space The Sun has given this non-story is unbelievable.

Sanford Abrams

Owings Mills

Facts mean nothing to opponents of guns

G. Jefferson Price III's column on guns showed once again how little facts mean to supporters of gun control ("Gun control? How about gun elimination?" Oct. 19).

Time and time again, impartial studies using empirical data, such as the recent one conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have been unable to prove that gun control reduces crime ("CDC finds no proof gun-control laws work," Oct. 3). And the research of John R. Lott Jr. has shown that the crime rate is reduced when laws allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons are liberalized, not restricted.

The facts speak for themselves. And these statistics do not even take into account the plight of citizens in Great Britain. After Britain banned private ownership of most firearms in 1996, the crime rate went through the roof. Murder, armed robbery and home invasion have become most common, as criminals know that law-abiding citizens are completely defenseless. And it is not entirely coincidental that British police officers did not begin carrying guns until after private gun ownership was outlawed.

Mr. Price's conclusion that the right to private gun ownership should be taken away "from anyone who can't prove a real need" is very chilling.

It is more reminiscent of totalitarianism than democracy. And it is indicative of the mindset of the political left, which believes individuals cannot make decisions in their own best interests without the help of the government and liberal opinion-makers.

Brian C. Griffiths

Pasadena

Do our institutions dare teach virtues?

I totally agree with Sheryl McCarthy ("Remove God from Pledge," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 22). Just where do these public institutions get off trying to defend virtues such as loyalty and love of God and country?

The next thing you know, these crazy schools are going to be pushing other fringe ideas, such as tolerance, responsibility and respect for others.

Sonny Church

Fallston

Students don't care what the Pledge says

Proponents and opponents of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance ignore a fact of much greater significance: This substitute high school teacher can state categorically that the students simply do not care about the Pledge. They ignore it completely ("Remove God from Pledge," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 22).

Parents, politicians and religious leaders need a lesson in reality if they visualize students showing rapt attention to this politically correct daily exercise in futility.

The Pledge needs to be reserved for less frequent, more appropriate, occasions.

Ask any teacher.

John Barry

Baltimore

We're free to pray, not to coerce others

I am a Christian and I do not believe that my rights are forgotten ("Rights of Christians seem to be forgotten," letters, Oct. 21). I pray often and where I please. I pray publicly in church. I give witness to my faith as I wish.

I just don't expect those with a different faith or no faith to participate with me.

Al Buls

Baltimore

Christians need to show tolerance

It's laughable to suggest, as the writer of the letter "Rights of Christians seem to be forgotten" (Oct. 21) does, that the rights of Christians are being denied in this nation.

The religious majority already has its words on our money, in the Pledge of Allegiance and wherever it can get them into public buildings. This despite the obvious intent of the First Amendment that our government should remain neutral about and stay out of religious affairs.

We non-Christians are the ones who are on the defensive.

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