The Baltimore Sun

Reasonable to limit gun rights of abusers

We have no problem with hunters having access to guns, or people owning legal firearms, properly stored, for self-defense. However, all reasonable people surely must agree that there are circumstances that justify the termination of that right ("Added protection," editorial, Feb. 3). And a gun owner with a history of violence against his or her partner falls into this category, even if he or she is not a convicted criminal.

Those of us who work with the victims of domestic violence know that the time between the issuing of a temporary and a final protective order is when a victim is at the highest risk of attack by her partner.

In Baltimore and Carroll counties, where Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland provides domestic violence services, we have seen an increase in the use of weapons in domestic violence situations. During these turbulent economic times, we fear an increase in fatalities.

Changing the law to allow the confiscation of guns from the recipient of a temporary protective order, with the possibility of a permanent removal of guns in the event of a final protective order, is plain-old common sense.

Doing so would give law enforcement officials and the courts one more tool to protect victims and their children.

Such a law would not protect every victim. But if it saved one life, it would be worthwhile.

How many more women must die? How many more children must witness such violence and be left without a mother or father?

It is time to act.

Connie Sgarlata

Pat Thompson, Baltimore

The writers are assistant executive directors of Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland.

Treasury secretary also deserves ouster

President Barack Obama's "I screwed up" comment about his appointment of Tom Daschle to be secretary of health and human services is refreshing, as far as it goes ("'I screwed up,' Obama admits," Feb. 4). But until he admits a pang of conscience and removes Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary, any claim that he is bringing any fresh air to Washington ought to be met with ridicule.

What the president characterized as Mr. Geithner's "mistakes" are crimes that ought to disqualify him from any Cabinet position.

And those from either party who voted to confirm Mr. Geithner's nomination should be labeled as aiders and abettors of corruption.

Dave Reich, Perry Hall

Too much attention to the Ehrlichs' rug

From all the publicity Laura Vozzella has given the "spiffy floor mat" (the $37,000 rug former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. purchased for the State House), one would think the rug was purchased for the Ehrlichs' private home ("All that glittered wasn't gold for Ehrlichs," Feb. 1).

It's in the State House, for heaven's sake. I'm sure the rug is lovely, and I hope, as a Maryland citizen, to have the opportunity to see it some time.

Since the rug is in the public area, why did Ms. Vozzella compare its cost with that of the renovation of Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's office kitchen, which is generally not open to the public?

If she's going to compare expenditures, she should have compared the kitchen renovation ($18,000) with the cost of painting the Government House's dining area ($4,000).

Marie Mullen, Joppa

Doctor's work in Haiti an inspirational tale

Thank you for the inspiring article about Dr. Mojtaba Gashti ("Little Steps," Feb. 1).

I'm an elementary school teacher in Baltimore County, and this type of reporting provides me with material to share with my class. I try to point out to my students that it is people like Dr. Gashti, as well as their parents, who are the true role models in our society.

Those are the sorts of people children should strive to be like. Olympic athletes and professional sports stars are entertainers but not necessarily role models.

John D. Brown, Phoenix

The article "Little Steps" by Stephanie Desmon is just what we need to bolster our spirits in this depressing time.

Dr. Mojtaba Gashti's rescue of 12-year-old Osly St. Preux from his desperate medical condition is a great blessing, and The Baltimore Sun will never have a better front-page article.

Walter Boyd, Lutherville

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