- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 14, 2002

Maryland Delegate Mark K. Shriver is correct when he says his record is unblemished when it comes to gun control especially gun control when it pertains to law-abiding citizens (“Shriver defends his gun control record,” Letters, Thursday). Yet, while Maryland has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, they seem to have had little positive effect on the state's violent crime rates, according to the Rothstein Catalog on Disaster Recovery.

In 2000, Maryland had an estimated population of almost 5.3 million, making it the 19th most populous state. Its total crime index (4,816.1 reported incidents per 100,000 people) is the 12th-highest in the nation. Its violent crime rate (786.6 reported incidents per 100,000 people) is the third-highest. Its murder rate (8.1 per 100,000 people, 430 in all) also is the third-highest. With 493.3 aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents, Maryland ranks fifth.

On the other hand, the most heinous violent crime, murder, is much less common in states with conceal-and-carry laws for example, Virginia (5.7 murders per 100,000), Pennsylvania (4.9) and Florida (5.6). That's pretty good compared to Maryland and another bastion of safety, the District, which has the nation's strictest gun control and a murder rate of 41.8 per 100,000.

The Mark Shrivers of the country predicted that there would be a bloodbath with the advent of conceal-and-carry laws, which 31 states have. Of course, it never happened. Crime in those states is going down steadily because the bad guys don't know who can defend himself and who is easy pickings. Unfortunately, we subjects of Maryland are easy pickings.


BUTCH KOLICH

St. Leonard, Md.




From reading Mark Shriver's letter, I conclude that he is unaware of the practice of inflating the numbers of “children” killed by guns by including young victims of crime, particularly involving drugs. (By the way, Maryland's attorney general cites such skewed statistics.) Innocent children are harmed by firearms less often. They are in greater danger from bathtubs and bicycles than firearms.

Those “child” deaths cited by Mr. Shriver are more a result of the drug trade and crime than a lack of gun control. If the drug and crime problems were solved, the statistics Mr. Shriver finds so disturbing would go down, gun control notwithstanding. Because Mr. Shriver does not appear to want to address the issue honestly, a reasonable person can only conclude he uses the gun issue as a fear tactic to further his chances for election to public office.


NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie


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