- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 13, 2002

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's empty promise not to exploit the recent sniper attacks which have killed at least seven people in the Washington area against Rep. Robert Ehrlich, her Republican opponent in the Maryland governor's race, lasted less than a week. Television ads ginned up by the Townsend campaign depicting Mr. Ehrlich as an "extremist" supporter of the gun lobby and hinting that he and others who oppose restrictive gun control policies directed against law-abiding citizens are somehow to blame for the deadly attacks hit the air on Friday, with more to come. The voiceover in one of these commercials slams Mr. Ehrlich for voting "against banning assault weapons and cheap handguns" even though, according to the information relayed to the media by authorities, neither category of firearm is involved in the recent attacks; the sniper is apparently using a high-powered hunting rifle with a scope, an entirely different type of weapon.
Regardless, it is simply a measure of Mrs. Townsend's growing political desperation that she is attempting to suggest that Mr. Ehrlich a responsible legislator who supports the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is in any way to blame for the loathsome actions of the sniper. "We've got a killer on the loose, we have funerals taking place, and she and her campaign have decided to put that to use for their political gain," Ehrlich campaign spokesman Paul Schurick said on Friday. "It's shameful."
And, regardless of how one feels about the issue of gun control, there is no factual basis for the claims being made by Mrs. Townsend and her supporters that any of the laws currently on the books or contemplated would have prevented an attacker as methodical as the sniper from carrying out his dastardly acts. Waiting periods, background checks and reams of paperwork would not have been impediments to such an individual. These things simply make life more difficult for honest people who do comply with the law and who, ipso facto, present no danger to the community. It is the small minority of criminals that are (and always have been) the problem when it comes to gun violence. And criminals are notorious for not obeying rules and regulations set down by politicians like Mrs. Townsend.
In the final analysis, KKT's exploitation of this ongoing tragedy has nothing to do with protecting innocent people from criminal sociopaths and everything to do with her sinking political fortunes. It's yet another reason why Marylanders need to think long and hard about whether they want Mrs. Townsend and her political handlers running the state for the next four years.

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