Open Letter to Mayor Martin O'Malley and the Baltimore City Council

Dear Mr. Mayor:

On October 23, Baltimore's City Council proposed legislation to ban the sale of firearms' ammunition to minors. That's fine but for two points:

  1. State law already bans the sale of ammunition to minors, and
  2. Baltimore's gang-bangers will simply get their ammunition in the black market. The proposed legislation will make no difference on the street.
Until we realize that we cannot solve Baltimore's drug problem and its associated violence by mere prohibition, imprisonment, and suppression, we will continue to suffer our daily shootings and the occasional horror like the Dawson fire-bombing.

The O'Malley administration is to be commended for its efforts to increase the availability of drug treatment. It must, however, redouble those efforts if they are to be effective. But effective drug treatment programs are only a start towards dealing with our city's drug epidemic.

Controlled, de-facto decriminalization of drug use by administrative fiat would be a good start. Until we can provide both addicts and dealers with honorable and meaningful activities at living wages, however, the ferocity of the drug wars in our cities' ghettos will not diminish.

Dr. Peter D. Molan

Dr. Molan is past Director of Education, Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse.

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This story was published on November 9, 2002.