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Letters to the Editor

October 15, 1999

Deck was stacked against gun supporters

To the editor:

I attended the meeting on Smart Guns at HCC in Hagerstown on Tuesday, Oct. 5. When I asked the Governor's Task Force if they would be comfortable with the new Smart Guns I received no reply, nor did anyone else to their questions.

The police officers looking down from the stage on the crowd of whom about 98 percent were against this measure while wearing their guns openly and the suited plainclothes officers with their sidearms clearly bulging under their coats doesn't exactly present a friendly atmosphere. This plainly leads to an "Us vs. Them" feeling.

These hearings are a sham with the lead-off speaker being a Silver Springs man of the cloth who gave a heart wrenching sermon on the vast number of funerals he has claimed to have attended due to accidental gun deaths of children. I am sure his lead-off position was reserved for political purposes. After all, how could one oppose gun safety in the name of the most-used buzz word today, children?

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This proposal is pure hogwash as anyone with common sense knows. This is nothing more then a backdoor attempt to ban the future sale of new handguns in Maryland. The governor couldn't care less if any firearms manufacturers ever offer these weapons; if they don't, then so much the better because he will have his back-door gun ban.

I live within two miles of both West Virginia and Virginia and surely wish I had built my house in one of those states. As a lifelong Marylander I am ready to pull up stakes for one of these more common-sense states.

Joe Howell

Knoxville

Remembering Billy

To the editor:

I am writing this letter in memory of my brother William Kemp Jr. who was taken so suddenly on August 10 of a heart-attack at the Washington County Detention Center where he was an inmate.

"Billy" or Bill as he was better known, died that afternoon of a heart attack that was attributed to a blood clot in his legs. Billy was a very fun loving and caring person.

He loved his wife Laura and he thought the world of his nephew little Greg. He lived life to the fullest and enjoyed every minute of it. He could make you mad at him one minute and the next you would have to forgive him!

Billy loved his cats Misty and Holly and enjoyed his sister's cats too.

He would help you out in a heartbeat and would lend anyone a helping hand. I hope and pray because Billy was in jail he really did get all the help he needed on the afternoon he fell unconscious in his jail cell.

I hope and pray everyone did everything they could at the detention center to help him on August 10 because I would hate to have God judge them and find Billy did not get the help he needed. I did not hear much from the Sheriff's Department after my brother's untimely death.

I would have thought someone in the Detention Center would have at least called me or at least said how sorry they were about his "sudden death." All we got was an investigator to tell us it was a heart attack.

So, for now it's good-bye Billy and we will see you in heaven someday and we will be together soon. We miss you so much and we all loved you. He was only 36 years old. Too young to die.

Patricia A. Barnhart

Hagerstown

Top-notch course

To the editor:

I completed the Hunter's Safety Course at the North American Rod and Gun Club. This course was put on by the very knowledgeable staff of the Department of Natural Resources - I want to thank them for a job well done!

I am a grandmother and with my son we saw to it that my two 10-year-old grandsons completed the same course last month. We wanted them to learn the proper safe handling of laws and guns and learn the laws and responsibilities that went with it for taking care of the land and animals.

I would like to encourage other grandmothers to see that their grandchildren are taught the proper way to respect all fire arms - and it may save some children's lives by taking the Hunter Safety Course.

Being more aware of, and knowledgeable about, devices may prevent an accident.

Helen Hose

Hagerstown

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