- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 9, 2002

To get an idea of the bizarre approach on crime taken by the Democratic political bosses in Annapolis, all one needs to do is look at the General Assembly's handling of several hot-button issues during this year's session, which concluded last night. While "leaders" like Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller Jr. and House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. provided empty rhetoric about the need to get tough on perpetrators of serious crime and force state Attorney General-for-life Joseph Curran Jr. to stop harassing law-abiding gun owners, the Democratic rank-and-file had other ideas.

In January, Margie Hyslop of The Washington Times reported that Mr. Curran, who is opposed to private handgun ownership, had advised state police to use a sweeping interpretation of federal and state gun laws to seize guns and deny applications for gun purchase and permits to gun owners convicted of minor offenses that occurred decades ago. Perhaps the most infamous example is the case of former Maryland "citizen of the year" Donald G. Arnold, a community activist honored for his work to make southeastern Baltimore neighborhoods safer. Mr. Arnold lost part of his livelihood two years ago, when state police refused to renew a concealed weapon permit he had held since the 1970s. His offense? In 1969, right after Mr. Arnold returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam, he got into a scuffle with a radical who taunted him as a "baby-killer." Mr. Arnold paid a $10 fine and spent a night in jail waiting for a judge to hear his case; he has not been in trouble with the law since that time.

But lawmakers in Annapolis did find the time to extend voting rights to a new class of convicted felons. Under pressure from the Legislative Black Caucus, the General Assembly approved legislation that will permit persons twice convicted of non-violent felonies to have their voting rights restored; under current law, only one-time felons can get their voting rights back. Gov. Parris Glendening is expected to sign the "reform" bill into law. So, in Maryland, you can apparently lose your right to own a gun for life over a decades-old misdemeanor. But, after serving a few years in the slammer, career-criminal types can get their voting rights back in time to vote for the Democratic machine. Marylanders should let Mike and Casper know what they think of this sorry state of affairs.

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