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Letters to the Editor

October 23, 1998

Poole worked for community

To the editor:

As the general manager for a small, historic, nonprofit cemetery in Sharpsburg, I'm writing to commend Del. Bruce Poole for the unselfish contribution he has made to our organization.

Mount View Nonprofit Cemetery has struggled recently to remain a viable entity. We reformed our board of directors (all non-paid positions) about five years ago and worked hard to attain nonprofit status.

Delegate Poole has served as a dedicated, tireless board member. He has performed many legal functions for us on a pro bono basis. Without his help, it would have been very difficult and costly to legally attain nonprofit status. This, in turn, enabled us to establish a Perpetual Care Fund to maintain the cemetery for future generations.

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We believe it is important for the citizens of Sharpsburg to know and acknowledge Delegate Poole's contribution to their community and this important community asset.

Willis C. Baker

Sharpsburg

No more gun laws

To the editor:

I recently read about the governor's new proposal for gun control. The governor is either intentionally misleading the citizens of Maryland, ignorant about new technology as it applies to firearms, or again using gun control as an election-day ploy.

There is currently no viable or reliable way to have a firearm recognize its owner and there will probably not be in the next three years or in the near future. In a tasteless attack on Ellen Sauerbrey, the governor also claims that his past gun control laws reduced firearm related crimes by 20 percent. However if you pay close attention to his add you will see that the newspaper headline indicates a reduction in "violent crime."

Violent crime nationwide has dropped, and for the governor to claim his firearms laws accomplished this in Maryland is absurd. As a matter of fact, with the exception of his one handgun a month law and private transfer law, the other laws he enacted had already been covered by existing laws. In your editorial, you indicated your concern about children and their access to firearms.

You also indicated that there is current technology that is economically available to cover Glendening's proposed policy. His current proposal is also covered under an existing law, which makes it a misdemeanor for a person to store and leave a loaded firearm in a location where the person knew, or should have known, that an unsupervised minor, under the age of 16 would gain access to the firearm. As a law enforcement officer, I am tired of politicians enacting laws that already exist as a ploy to help with re-election campaigns.

Contrary to political rhetoric, the bulk of rank-and-file officers do not believe that gun control laws reduce crime but that they only hinder law abiding citizens' rights.   Blaming firearms for violent crimes would be like blaming the matches instead of the arsonist for setting the fire. We need to prosecute the offender as opposed to the instrument of the crime.  

 As far as accidental deaths that occur with firearms, the underlying factor should be to stress education as opposed to restrictive firearms laws. The governor just this year recognized the NRA's Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program, designating a week of recognition to this program. The governor goes on in his recent campaign commercials degrading the NRA and Ellen Sauerbrey on their gun policies. 

The NRA is in the forefront of safe firearms handling and training.  After the governor's recognition of the NRA's Eddie Eagle Program, he can hardly deny that the NRA is interested in safe gun handling by both, adults and children.

I think our tax money would be more profitable if applied to education, and more aggressive prosecution of violent offenders than to enact further laws that are designed to restrict firearms ownership to the law abiding citizens of Maryland. 

Michael D. Moats

Clear Spring

Issues for school board candidates

To the editor:

With the following letter I hope to initiate some discussion from all of the candidates running for the Board of Education and make them aware of certain conditions that exist in our school which need improvement.

I describe a hypothetical classroom that exists in many of the high schools in Washington County. The class as originally constituted has 30 students, it's now down to 28, a mixture of freshmen and sophomores who failed last year. The class is labeled "C" level. Twelve students, or 44 percent, are identified as special education students. Among those, four are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. The teacher is required to make a combined total of 59 accommodations to meet the educational plans of those students.

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