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Case to eliminate Md. handgun appeals board hasn't been made

Gun control advocates say Gov. Larry Hogan's appointees to the Handgun Permit Review Board have been too prone to overturning denials of concealed-carry permits and want to put the decision in the hands of administrative law judges instead.
Gun control advocates say Gov. Larry Hogan's appointees to the Handgun Permit Review Board have been too prone to overturning denials of concealed-carry permits and want to put the decision in the hands of administrative law judges instead. (John Locher / AP)

Letter writer Roslyn Zinner emotionally argues that Gov. Larry Hogan made a poor decision to oppose a "worthy" bill to eliminate the Handgun Permit Review Board (“Hogan ignores Md. gun safety failures,” Feb. 26).

Her proposition is that the board "frequently overturns denials of handgun permits" allowing people "who should not be trusted with a gun to be allowed a permit." I feel qualified to respond because I was a longtime Maryland resident, continue to work in the Baltimore suburbs, serve in volunteer capacities in two entities in Maryland unrelated to firearms and because I have some training in science and public policy.

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I would ask Ms. Zinner if she has any facts to back up her opinion (“Guns and Annapolis,” Nov. 30). It would help us to know what "frequently" means. How many permits have been issued? How many times has a permit denial been overturned and most importantly, how many crimes involving firearms have been committed by individuals who were issued permits due to an appeal to the board? If a percentage of individuals whose initial denial was overturned by the board committed crime significantly in excess of those who were initially given a permit, then I accept Ms. Zinner's proposition. If however, the overturns are not "frequent" or those issued permits on appeal are not more involved in crime, those data do not support her premise and I respectfully suggest that Ms. Zinner's argument is without foundation.

If she has no knowledge of these data, I ask her on what logical basis she felt qualified to comment? My unscientific guess is that the numbers of individuals involved are low in comparison to the population and that few, if any, of those who were issued permits after initial refusal, committed crimes of violence with a firearm. If not, I apologize to Ms. Zinner. Firearms are one of many polarizing issues dividing our country. I, and fellow citizens who want to give moderation a chance, want to see objective information and a look into the underlying data before we develop political agendas.

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David J. O'Neill, Stewartstown, Pa.

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