I just read that in Baltimore, the city that bleeds, there were 12 shootings over a period of four days ("12 shot in four days in city," May 28). Let me see now, at the rate of three per day, over the period of 365 days, that would add up to 1,095! But the residents of Baltimore shouldn't panic, for two very good reasons. First, we all know that shootings at the rate of there per day most likely are not sustainable as Baltimore's criminal culture simply cannot maintain that pace, or can it?

Second, those recently-passed draconian gun laws, once they kick in, will certainly eliminate that problem. Isn't that essentially what we were told by Comrade Gov. Martin O'Malley? The fact that those laws only impact upon law abiding gun owners notwithstanding, Governor O'Malley believes that by criminalizing the behavior of otherwise law abiding citizens, he can prevent the real criminals (who obey no laws, after all, that is why they are called "criminals" in the first place) from violating those laws! Is this reasoning merely convoluted or is it wishful thinking by a bleeding hearted liberal socialist governor or is it well-intentioned social engineering by liberals who simply do not understand nor support the Constitution or is it something more onerous?

In every case where a government has sought to "control" legal gun ownership by the people, one or more of the following have occurred: confiscation followed, criminals were emboldened, crime increased — in some cases, exponentially with the most heinous being home invasions — black markets for firearms and ammunition evolved, victimization escalated, government intruded even further upon individual rights and liberty was lost, the people effectively enslaved. Make no mistakes here, in every case, one or more of those "after effects" have emerged. Do we need or want any of that to happen here?

I am amazed by the fact that the law abiding black residents of Maryland, particularly within Baltimore, and there are many of them out there, are not opposed, vehemently so, to this infringement upon their right to own and carry the means of self-preservation. Crime, murderous crime, is a reality and it is a sad fact that far too much of it exists in those black neighborhoods where far too many good people are being held hostage by a viciously violent minority. Economist John Lott Jr. did an immense and comprehensive study of the effect of "concealed carry laws" on crime. He studied every county in every state and concluded that where such laws exist, crime goes down. His work has been challenged quite often but never successfully. And I know of what I speak.

Robert DiStefano

The writer is a retired Baltimore City Police Department major.