AUGUST 1998

Saturday, August 1st, 1998

Maryland Governor Parris Glendening signed an executive order last month directing state troopers to trace and run ballistics on every gun seized by police in connection with a crime, making Maryland the first state to attempt such a comprehensive program to attack illegal firearms trafficking, according to state and federal officials.
State officials hope that by tracking every seized gun to a gun dealer and its original purchaser they will be able to develop a complete picture of the state’s black market in firearms. Officials say this would allow police to identify scofflaw dealers and trafficking rings which may be funneling thousands of guns onto the streets, as well as individual “straw purchasers.”
“This is a completely different tack for Parris (Glendening) to take,” said Bob McMurray, Legislative Vice President of the Maryland Rifle and Pistol Association. “Previously, he’s concentrated on bashing law-abiding gun owners, and we’ve testified that he ought to be enforcing existing laws against criminals. If they want to check ballistics and trace every crime gun seized, we have no problem with that.”
Told of Glendening’s plan, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, Glendening’s probable pro-gun gubernatorial opponent this fall, asked why he hadn’t done it sooner. “It seems to be a curious coincidence that he’s discovered the importance of this with an election a couple of months away,” she said.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the 210th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), by a vote of 393 to 120 on June 18, resolved to call upon all Presbyterians “to intentionally work toward removing all handguns from our homes and our communities.”

In a national anti-gun media blitz on television networks, local stations, magazines and billboards sponsored by Cease Fire, the pet project of Jann Wenner, Publisher of ROLLING STONE magazine, Wenner “has mobilized a small army of media heavyweights,” according to THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.
Wenner “has loaded Cease Fire’s advisory board with the likes of Walter Cronkite, Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Paul Newman and Michael Douglas, who in turn proceeded to ‘round up the media,’ as Mr. Wenner puts it,” according to the JOURNAL.
“Mr. Douglas, who narrates the ads, called officials at CBS. Time Warner Chief Executive Gerald Levin has suggested that all of the company’s cable systems run the ads. Tom Freston, chief executive of Viacom’s MTV unit, not only agreed to carry the ads on MTV networks, but helped obtain commitments from cable networks A&E and Lifetime. HSN Chairman Barry Diller called executives at News Corp.’s Fox and Tele-Communications Inc.
And Ellen Levine, the editor of GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, agreed to carry ads in her magazine and helped to win pages from several other Hearst periodicals.
“Rather than a political message pushing legislation, ‘we’re trying to change perceptions,’ Mr. Wenner says. ‘The reason most men buy handguns is because they think they can protect their family. But it doesn’t work. Handguns are much more likely to bring harm.’”

In Washington, D. C., the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime approved H. R. 218, by Rep. Randy Cunningham of California, which would allow sworn law enforcement officers the right to carry a concealed firearm while off duty in any state in the nation. It also approved an amendment to H.R. 218 offered by the Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Bill McCollum of Florida, which would allow individuals who have been issued state carry permits to carry concealed in other states which have right to carry laws.
The McCollum amendment does not go as far as H. R. 339, by Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida, which would allow holders of a permit to carry concealed issued by any state to carry concealed in any state. However, it would improve greatly upon the current situation.
H.R. 218 first must be approved by the whole House Judiciary Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, and the House Rules Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Jerry Solomon of New York, before going to the full House floor for a vote.

“Gun ‘safety’ is advanced in one deft promotional shot by a safe company,” reports THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.
“Sheriff William Polhemus of Ocean County, New Jersey, wanted some sort of safety device so his officers could lock up their guns at home, keeping the weapons out of the hands of children and others. So he called Sentry Group, Inc. a safe manufacturer in Rochester, New York.
“The timing was good. Sentry is introducing a small safe for home use and, as a kickoff gesture, donated 80 of the bolt-down safes to the Ocean County force – one for each officer. It adds it will sell the safes at a substantial discount to other police. ‘These guns will be locked down and safe,’ says the sheriff, adding: ‘It just felt perfect.’”