Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Open forum: Gun control is not crime control

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I agree with Howard Ausden 100 percent (‘‘An argument for change to gun laws,” Aug. 15 letter).

We should do whatever it takes to protect our children. Police can’t react before something happens and they have to travel to get to you. 911 isn’t instant.

Courts keep letting repeat offenders out or just letting them go. When a group of youths roamed my development with a shotgun knocking on random doors, I was scared for their lives. Later that night they shot at a grandmother and her grandkids and I found out they had killed someone earlier that day. I am tired of explaining why my kids have to hide when people knock on the door at night. I live in a supposedly ‘‘safe area” its not urban and it was considered outskirts of suburbia 10 years ago. Now I just explain why I carry a gun in the house and they know enough on how to use it and the basic safety rules. I just wish I could protect them once they leave.

Gill Lavallee, Severn

There had been no school shootings prior to the Dunblane tragedy either but firearms crime in the UK has increased four-fold since the ban on legal handguns was introduced.

Barring the legal ownership of firearms merely disarms the law abiding whilst the criminals continue to arm themselves.

Mike Sterland, Whitehaven, United Kingdom

It is time for Maryland to become a ‘‘shall issue” state.

Maryland Code: Public Safety Article 5-306 (ii) has good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.

Yet, the application for a handgun permit in Maryland clearly states that in order to meet this requirement: (f) Personal Protection: There must be documented evidence of recent threats, robberies, and⁄or assaults, supported by official police reports or notarized statements from witnesses.

I propose that the Maryland General Assembly strike section Part (ii) of 5-306 from the code in its entirety. My reasoning is that a canceled weapon in the possession of a citizen that has passed the required background checks has no mental defect, is, of and in the act of carrying a canceled weapon, at any time, in any place a reasonable precaution against danger.

With these simple changes, the secretary has the responsibility of proving a citizen should not carry a firearm. Can you think of any other instance in American law or history where the burden of proof is in the hands of the citizen, and not the police?

Jon Bishop, Pasadena