Gun laws do more harm than goodI...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Gun laws do more harm than good

I agree with Fred David (Forum, Feb. 28) that lenient sentencing guidelines set by Maryland Sentencing Guidelines Advisory Board send wrong messages to criminals. We need tougher guidelines.

I differ with him when it comes to forcing honest citizens to submit to illegal and prohibitive gun ownership regulations.

Mr. Davis implies certain recently banned firearms "have little sporting use . . ." The Second Amendment is not about "sporting." It was written so people would have the means to protect their rights. Without the "right to keep and bear arms," you may as well throw your remaining Constitutional rights in the trash.

The Brady Law that Mr. Davis praises is expensive and totally ineffective. Federal officials estimate that 41,000 people have been denied firearm purchases due to background checks. However, Attorney General Janet Reno stated since the Brady Law has been in effect, only four criminals have been prosecuted.

The bulk of persons prohibited firearms under this law are later found to be qualified, honest people denied their constitutional rights due to misidentification or unpaid parking tickets. One person was even denied firearms ownership for having committed the heinous crime of failure to properly register the family dog.

The Brady Law is such a waste of police resources that police officials have even challenged it. Courts in five states have ruled this law unconstitutional.

I agree with Mr. Davis that education is essential. The National Rifle Association has therefore produced the "Eddie Eagle" program, promoting safety and firearms accident prevention for children in pre-K through sixth grade.

This program received commendations from the American Legion and endorsement by over 1,400 law enforcement agencies. It is used by over 5,000 schools and groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Aleta Handy

Severn

Past reference

As we observe the shenanigans being perpetrated at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue it seems obvious "there is no division of the dramatis personae between Democrats and Republicans, progressives and reactionaries, materialists and idealists, patriots and traitors; the only division is between men and women who have something and men and women who want it." That's from H.L. Mencken in the Chicago Tribune, Jan. 11, 1925.

These yahoos we have entrusted with the perpetuation of the Republic are playing "Can you top this?" and "My daddy can whip your daddy" games. If we saw such actions in a kindergarten class we would admonish the youngsters to "behave and play nice".

'Tis a wonderment how this crowd of "Katzenjammers" attained such high office.

When Ambrose Bierce defined "Politics" as "the strife of interest masquerading as a contest of principles" he was most prophetic.

J. Bernard Hihn

Baltimore

Alive and well

Sen. Phil Gramm and many others feel as though affirmative action should be abolished and that women and minorities should not receive any special consideration as far as employment, college admittance, housing and in other areas.

I guess some people think that racism and prejudice no longer exist in America. If that is the case then why is it that even with affirmative action many women and minorities make up only a small percentage of many companies' work forces, and the positions that they do hold tend to be at the bottom of the pay scale with little hope of reaching middle management or higher?

Why are blacks and women so frequently turned down for loans when shopping for a house or steered to certain sections by Realtors and prohibited from living wherever they want to live?

If racism is gone why did Susan Smith decide to pin the murder of her children on a black man instead of just anyone? If racism no longer exists, why was Jesse Jackson protesting the fact that very few blacks hold upper level positions in baseball and in many other sports?

If racism no longer exists why are black males forced to shave and keep their hair cut low on jobs while their white counterparts can wear long beards and have pony tails?

If racism no longer exists why were black Secret Service agents treated so badly while trying to get served at Denny's?

These examples along with many others show just how necessary affirmative action is, because the sad fact is that women and minorities are still discriminated against and treated like second class citizenes.

Not much has changed since the 1960s because, from where I sit, racism and prejudice are alive and well. In fact they are thriving.

Murphy Edward Smith

Baltimore

Minor problem

I think it is primarily the players who are at fault in the baseball strike.

It is their desire for more extravagant salaries that has caused them to hold the game hostage with their walkout. Their salaries are already so extravagant that they have put the game out of reach, financially, for many baseball fans. Families with several children can figure on spending almost $100 for a night at the ballpark.

Who do the players think are going to pay their exorbitant demands when they have priced the game out of the market for the families who probably constitute the majority of baseball fans? The owners needn't feel so bad about fielding minor league players, either. They could pass the player salary savings back to the fans in the form of lower ticket prices, (say about half what they are now).

Someone should ask the fans how they feel about the minor league player proposal instead of pontificating that, "The fans don't want to see minor league players".

I have been a season ticket-holder for several years, and I would rather go see some good minor league players for a fair admission price then to have no baseball at all, or be constantly dreading the next player job action that might cut the season short.

Charles Hill

Linthicum

Mixed smoke signals

I am one of the vast majority who are very happy about the statewide smoking ban that Gov. Parris Glendening will allow into effect March 27.

It is long overdue. No longer will my expensive clothes, my eyes or my lungs be fouled by tobacco smoke.

Second-hand smoke will kill more Americans this year than the entire Vietnam war did. It's not fair for employees in bars, offices and restaurants to make them work in a potentially fatal atmosphere. Common sense tells you if people are doing something in the workplace that jeopardizes the health of others it should be stopped.

Opponents of this bill ask "what's next?" How about eggs? Cholesterol kills, too. Yes, but Harry eating 10 dozen eggs won't harm innocent bystanders, unless of course he explodes.

As far as business being hurt financially, I for one will be more likely to go to my neighborhood tavern now, as I will be able to breathe the air inside.

This bill saves lives.

James E. Lorber

Baltimore

I have decided to resume my long lost habit of smoking. Several years ago I quit smoking a half-pack of cigarettes a day. Today, my lungs are clear, my heart is strong, and my lips are eminently smoochable. But on March 27 I will supply myself with a fistful of cigars, paint the name "Glendening" down the side of each, repair to the nearest place of public accommodation, and start handing them out.

I am inspired to this act by Henry David Thoreau and his essay "Civil Disobedience," in which he wisely elucidates the conditions wherein the citizen of conscience and principle is obligated to break a particular law.

I believe the smoking ban exceeds the sense of consent between the government and the governed. If the owner of a private business is willing to permit his patrons to use a legal product in its proscribed manner, no governor is in any way authorized to interfere.

The governor has the unique authority to tax. If the current governor is not capable of using existing tools of influence, we should be looking for someone who is.

I regret that I have but one life to give to my country.

Jack Garman

Baltimore

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