Why can't Md. veterans carry concealed weapons?

As a 25-year retired veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, a year of which I served on active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, I find Maryland lawmakers' unwillingness to support veterans' right to carry concealed handguns disheartening.

Faced with serious security issues at home, veterans are either denied or don't even apply for concealed carry handgun permits. Although the state contends that it does not deny people permits, the reality contradicts that.

Many veterans like myself were trained on weapons and trained others on systems ranging from assault rifles and machine guns to rockets and high explosives. Yet Maryland law doesn't allow veterans to carry so much as a small handgun for self defense.

Ironically, as a Maryland resident I have a permit to carry in every one of our neighboring states, while Maryland clings to the tired notion that its gun laws are a crime deterrent — even as unlicensed, untrained people kill each other every day in Baltimore with weapons obtained illegally.

When will lawmakers finally acknowledge the fact that veterans have been adequately trained to carry weapons? If not, why isn't the Maryland legislature asking the armed forces for more training of U.S. armed services members in defense of our nation?

Jerry R. Roope, Perryville

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