- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 3, 2002

Exaggeration is part of the political art, but it's unusual when a pol gets called on it by a member of his own party. Last week, Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mark K. Shriver sent out a flurry of campaign flyers to his potential constituents in which he took credit for securing passage two years ago of landmark gun-control legislation mandating trigger locks on all handguns sold in the state. Mr. Shriver, a liberal up-and-coming member of the Kennedy clan, claimed he "led the fight" to get the bill passed. "Too many families, including my own, have been touched by gun violence," the brochure read.
But it was another Democrat, State Sen. Christopher Van Hollen Jr., who was the critical player and that's according to fellow Democratic pols, gun-control groups, even Maryland's Democrat governor, Parris N. Glendening. "Mark Shriver cast a 'yes' vote for this important legislation," said Carol Price of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse. "But he did not play a role in the considerable battle to pass the trigger-lock requirement." Mr. Glendening's chief lobbyist, Joseph C. Bryce, told The Washington Post that it was Mr. Van Hollen who was the floor leader "integral" to the passage of the bill. It was Mr. Van Hollen, not Mr. Shriver, who served as Mr. Glendening's "point man" during the fight to pass the trigger-lock legislation in the Maryland Senate. It was Mr. Van Hollen, not Mr. Shriver, who was primarily responsible for securing the support of moderate and conservative Democrats needed to get the bill through. Mr. Shriver merely voted in favor of it.
"No one is questioning Mark's support for gun-control that is not the issue …" said Mr. Van Hollen, who is vying for the same congressional seat in Maryland's 8th District as Mr. Shriver. But Van Hollen campaign manager Steven Jost was more blunt: "The issue is truth in advertising. There is a big difference between voting right on an issue and leading the fight. The voters need to know that distinction."
Mr. Shriver, who so far has not directly disputed the correctness of anything Mr. Van Hollen or others have said regarding his peripheral role in securing passage of the trigger-lock legislation, would only say that he "takes a back seat to no one" on the issue of gun control.
Too bad he's not equally ardent about telling the truth.

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