- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 5, 2002

Virginia should follow Maryland's lead on gun control

Your editorial suggesting that Maryland follow Virginia's lead when it comes to gun policy was highly misleading ("Maryland gun folly," Jan. 2). I like your suggestion that one state should learn from the other regarding what works and what doesn't work and follow the other's lead. On this particular issue, however, you just confused which state should follow and which state should lead.
You correctly note that Virginia has "adopted instant background checks." What you fail to mention is that these checks are only conducted when people buy guns from licensed gun dealers, primarily at gun stores. Anyone from anywhere, however, can buy a gun at a gun show, through the classified ads, and even over the Internet with no criminal background check and no questions asked in Virginia.
If Virginia wants to be a model leader when it comes to state gun policy, we must close the deadly loopholes that criminals continually exploit to get weapons. We can start by requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales at all gun shows something that Maryland has done for years.

Executive Director
Virginians Against Handgun Violence

Cracking down on illegal immigrants shouldn't put their health at risk

Commentary columnist Michelle Malkin's tirade about free health care for illegal immigrants was very disturbing ("Osama's medical welcome mat," Jan. 1).
I agree that we should do more to limit illegal immigration and even screen people for health problems before they come in. I don't, however, want to live in a society where a 3-year-old dies from an untreated ear infection because her parents cannot come up with the right papers.
Also, imagine what a health disaster we would have if millions of people among us were suddenly unable to get vaccines and treatment for such contagious diseases as tuberculosis. Everyone's health would be in danger.
In characterizing illegal aliens as "Osama bin Ladens," Miss Malkin dehumanizes them, seemingly to justify denying them care. After all, the more illegal immigrants who die, the fewer we will have around.
Is that the next step in this line of reasoning?

Van Nuys, Calif.

Contraceptive has too many side effects to be sold over-the-counter

The article on emergency contraception (EC) was very informative, but it did not include the reasons that EC requires a doctor's prescription ("In an emergency," Jan. 2). The reasons are:
EC cannot be taken if a woman suffers migraine headaches, smokes or has blood clots.
The side effects of EC are nausea, abdominal cramps, menstrual irregularity and dizziness.
EC is powerful medicine that can have dangerous consequences. It would be misleading to make it an over-the-counter medicine signaling that it does not require a doctor's care.


Oil may have kick, but U.S. must kick oil habit

Charles Rousseaux points out that renewable energy is underpowered, overpriced and has environmental problems, while "Oil has the kick" (Op-Ed, Dec. 28). Does this mean we should continue to rely on oil even when we have almost burned it all?
U.S. oil production peaked more than 30 years ago, and the world economy now burns in a year four times more oil than is discovered. Renewables won't seem overpriced after oil production begins to decline.
To get by using only renewable energy sources, we will need to build a far more efficient economy and limit our population. We should shift taxes off income and onto fossil fuels to harness the market mechanism to promote efficiency and investment in renewables.
Sooner is better, since we will need the power of oil to build a renewable energy infrastructure.


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