Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 05, 2004

Assault gun ban would do nothing to combat crime

I wonder if the editorial writers at The Sun have actually read Senate Bill 288, the assault weapons ban currently before the state Senate ("Assault time," editorial, Feb. 27).

The bill, in its current form, would ban virtually all semi-automatic handguns, rifles and shotguns, as a simple reading would show.

Most law enforcement organizations do not support the ban. In fact, the Maryland State Police as well as the Fraternal Order of Police both testified against it in recent Senate hearings. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America, a national police organization, has spoken out against such bans for more than 10 years.

These rifles are used in target competition and hunting and are prized collectibles for thousands of law-abiding Marylanders. These rifles do not spray fire, as the editorial suggested. They fire one round of ammunition for each pull of the trigger.

And by the way, the "giant clips of bullets" the editorial mentions are already banned by Maryland law. So where does that statement come from? Is it because The Sun has no evidence there is a problem with misuse of semiautomatic rifles?

How can a total ban on hundreds of models of now legally semiautomatic firearms be considered by The Sun a reasonable, moderate gun control measure?

And what criminal would be stopped from committing violence by a gun ban?

The answer is none.

Sanford Abrams

Baltimore

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

"Assault time" was a perfect title for the shameful editorial of Feb. 27. This piece of yellow journalism was an assault on truth, logic and the public's ability to smell foul use of editorial power.

In truth, the only real criteria describing an assault weapon is how military it looks. Hunting and target rifles with ornate engraving and beautiful wood grain finishes are equally capable, if not superior to, assault weapons for killing any living thing.

The difference is in the intent of the user, not the appearance of the weapon.

Bradley D. Rohrer

Annapolis

A victory for those who obey the laws

I am sure it took courage for state Sen. John A. Giannetti Jr. to oppose Senate Bill 288, which would restrict the types of firearms that could be legally purchased in Maryland ("Gun ban hits snag in Senate," Feb. 28).

But crime statistics support Mr. Giannetti's statement: "I firmly believe that continuing the effects of the federal ban [on assault weapons] will not have a significant effect on the safety of the public or the safety of law enforcement officers."

The current federal ban on these firearms has had little, if any, impact on crime. These firearms are not the weapons of choice for criminals.

If the Senate bill is not passed, it will be a victory for all law-abiding Maryland citizens and not, as Sen. Robert J. Garagiola suggested, "a win for the [National Rifle Association] and a loss for the families of Maryland."

Carl Russell

Severn

Slots aren't the way to pay for education

In using slots to help pay for the Thornton education plan, we need to be careful not to substitute one social problem for another ("State Senate gives approval for 6 slots sites," Feb. 28). Adding slots would just create another form of gambling, and the state would then have to pay for more gambling-related social problems - and by the state, I mean taxpayers.

Yes, everyone wants to solve the education crisis in Baltimore, but increasing the number of gambling addicts in the state cannot be the only or the best way to do so.

What about more checks and balances for the money being sent to the Baltimore school system? That would take time, but so would slots.

I would just hate to have our children be better at math - only to know their odds of winning the next time they're in front of a slot machine.

Shivonne Laird

Owings Mills

Where are voices of city's children?

In numerous articles addressing the Baltimore school budget crisis, many sides and quotations have been spread throughout The Sun.

Everyone has had a voice - from the threats of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to the recommendations of Mayor Martin O'Malley and those of the city teachers.

But there are voices that I am not hearing - those of the children. And it is the children who are truly suffering from this crisis.

There are enough children enrolled in Baltimore's public schools to fill all the seats in Camden Yards - almost twice. And they are all watching their elected leaders fighting about money and power.

The political players in this game will walk off the field relatively unharmed. The children will be the real losers.

What kinds of lessons are we teaching our children, and when are we going to start considering them?

Megan Quick

Baltimore

Mideast peace awaits an end to occupation

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