- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 22, 2002

ANNAPOLIS Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend again raised the gun-control issue in a television advertisement that began running yesterday on stations in the Baltimore and Washington areas.
The ad stresses Mrs. Townsend's commitment to expanding Maryland's ballistic fingerprinting law, which covers only handguns, to include rifles like that used by the serial sniper who has killed nine persons this month in the Washington area.
While Mrs. Townsend wants to expand the law, her Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. "criticized Maryland's laws for ballistic fingerprinting, saying they've done nothing to reduce gun crimes, and he would consider repealing them," the ad says.
The advertisement also touches on environmental issues, but the gun issue consumes about two-thirds of the 30-second spot.
It is the second Townsend advertisement to discuss gun control since the first sniper victims were killed by the sniper Oct. 2. The first one precipitated a dispute between the two campaigns, with Mr. Ehrlich saying Mrs. Townsend was trying to exploit the killings for political gain.
Peter Hamm, Mrs. Townsend's spokesman, said the Democratic nominee "has made it clear all along that one of the reasons she feels that she should be governor is to maintain Maryland's strong commitment to reasonable gun-control laws."
"Our opponent has shown throughout his career that he is opposed to reasonable gun control," Mr. Hamm said. "We are not going to be silenced on this issue."
Shareese DeLeaver, spokeswoman for the Ehrlich campaign, said he has not proposed getting rid of the law that requires gun manufacturers to provide police with a shell casing shot from each new handgun sold in Maryland. State Police Superintendent David Mitchell said markings from the shell casings, which are stored in a computer, will help law-enforcement officials trace guns used in crimes.
"The fact is Bob said he would take a look at the program," Miss DeLeaver said. "If it works, he will expand it. If not, he'll try to make it work."
At a meeting with reporters in September, Mr. Ehrlich brought up the gun issue, saying he would review gun laws to see whether they work. He questioned the effectiveness of two laws ballistic fingerprinting and a handgun review board that approves weapons for sale in Maryland.
The second part of the ad, featuring a scenic view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Mrs. Townsend walking through a forest, said the lieutenant governor was endorsed by The Washington Post because of her commitment to the environment. It said Mr. Ehrlich voted in 1995 and 1999 "to permit the dumping of industrial waste in the Bay."
Miss DeLeaver said he voted against the bills mentioned in the advertisement because "Bob believes they gutted federal protection of the Chesapeake Bay."

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