LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Concealed guns let citizens fend for themselves

Reading his column "Shooting down claims about right-to-carry laws" (Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 19), I can't quite decide whether Steve Chapman is in favor of concealed-carry laws or against them. He seems to say that the results of a concealed-carry law are neutral - with no increase or decrease in crime reported after such laws are passed.

If Mr. Chapman is totally correct in his assumptions, then passage of a concealed-carry law in Maryland would cause no harm.

But I would paraphrase the anti-gun groups' mantra, "If it would save one life, it is worth it," and say, "If one Maryland citizen defends his or her life with a legally carried handgun, it would be worth passing such a law in our state."

And the truth is that it would save many lives because a concealed-carry law would prompt a significant decrease in the statewide crime rate.

The only statement I totally agree with in Mr. Chapman's column is: "The advantage of these laws is that they give individuals the means to protect themselves from violence."

Why not give that advantage to law-abiding Marylanders?

Sanford Abrams

Baltimore

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

Gun control laws really do save lives

The letter "New state gun law wouldn't curb crime" (Sept. 21) suggests that there has been no study showing "any positive impact at reducing crime" as a result of the federal assault-weapons ban.

The federal ban is not quite 10 years old, and it takes time to collect and analyze statistics. But a study released just last year showed that the 1988 Saturday Night Special ban here in Maryland actually has saved the lives of about 40 Marylanders per year.

I think it is worth waiting a few more years to see how many lives nationally have been saved by the federal assault-weapons ban.

Also, in the six years leading up to 2000, violent crime in this country dropped each year - partly because of tough gun laws, including the assault-weapons ban.

Furthermore, the writer appears clueless as to how Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan and Mayor Martin O'Malley "could have witnessed up close the damage wrought by high-powered military-style weapons used by criminals, since these weapons are rarely used in crimes."

Perhaps the writer was vacationing outside the United States (or maybe on another planet) during the Washington-area sniper attacks last fall, but an assault weapon was used here to kill 10 people and wound three more.

The writer wonders why we need more gun laws. The answer seems obvious - because current gun laws have been proved to save lives, but people are still dying.

Ginni Wolf

Glen Burnie

The writer is executive director of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse.

New hotel could ruin one of city's jewels

Most cities try to protect their cherished views and scenic locations. Would Washington, New York or San Francisco put buildings directly in front of the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty, or Coit Tower? Never would they consider such crazy ideas. But Baltimore is about to ruin one of its own cherished jewels, the beautiful view from Oriole Park at Camden Yards ("City convention business slumps to a new low," Sept. 18).

This is one of the most recognized and displayed shots of Baltimore, looking out from over this beautiful diamond with the Bromo Seltzer tower and the rest of the skyline surrounding the area. However, a soon-to-be-built hotel may close in the stadium.

Putting the hotel on this spot would be similar to putting a building next to the Constellation so it is practically hidden. Oh, right, we already made that mistake. I hope we can protect Oriole Park from the same fate.

Mark Henderson

Perry Hall

Rising productivity or longer workdays?

Are the reported productivity gains real ("Runaway productivity bites the hand that feeds it," Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 21)?

Or is the productivity-per-hour calculated on the basis of the traditional work week while many people are coming to work early, working through lunch, staying late and working much more than the standard hours in hopes of avoiding the next layoff?

Mary O. Styrt

Baltimore

Reasons to rule out same-sex marriages

The writer of the letter "Law ought to allow gay people to marry" (Sept. 21) believes that not permitting homosexuals to marry is discrimination that indicates homophobia or the establishment of a theocracy. His analysis is deficient.

Historically, marriage exists and is recognized by governments to secure for children the support owed by their fathers. Marriage exists not as the state's recognition of affections or emotions, but to protect the children that issue from heterosexual unions.

Society's very existence flows from the birth of children who mature and later become its stewards and tomorrow's parents. No children flow from sexual relations between members of the same sex.

Hence society is justified in making a distinction - i.e., discriminating - as heterosexual unions bring forth the children essential for society's survival and homosexual unions bring forth nothing essential to society.

Therefore, opposition to legitimizing homosexual unions is not necessarily an act of religious bigotry, the imposition of a theocracy or a homophobic reaction.

It may be a reasoned response from a biological, historical and social perspective.

David P. Gilmore

Glen Burnie

Doesn't the Bible tell us not to judge?

I was wondering about all the people who write in condemning homosexuality, quoting the Bible ad infinitum.

I thought the Bible told us not to judge other people.

Annie P. Wagner

Lutherville

Watching warriors and their guardians

I was touched by Susan Reimer's column on the plight of U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen and their families in Annapolis in the wake of Tropical Storm Isabel ("Mids not only ones required to be flexible," Sept. 23).

It is gratifying to know that sponsor families such as the Reimers each weekend take hundreds of these young future officers into their homes.

It was only after the last middie left the house on Sunday evening that the Reimers finally lost power. In her column, Ms. Reimer wonders whether the timing of the blackout meant that God was more concerned with protecting the mids ("those in peril on the sea") or saving her from more cooking and cleaning.

I personally believe it was both. It is well-known that God loves and watches over his warriors. And who else but God would watch over their guardian angels?

Michael A. Waller

Randallstown

The writer is chaplain of American Legion Liberty Post 122 in Randallstown.

CorrectionThe Sun incorrectly identified the writer of the Sept. 25 letter "Gun control laws really do save lives." Ginni Wolf is the former executive director of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, known now as CeaseFire Maryland. The Sun regrets the error.
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