The current session of the MAryland legislature will soon draw to a close. The gun-grabbers have tried very hard to enact new AWB legislation but so far we have be able to hold them off. Today and tomorrow a whloe slew of new bills will be read, some for and some against. CCW has been introduced for consideration and I plan to testify as being in favor. This is a copy of my remarks. Feel free to add anything I might have missed. I have come here today to ask for your support for this piece of legislation. Throughout my lifetime I have been a loyal citizen of Maryland, leaving only for undergraduate school and service in The United States Army during the Viet Nam War. As I approach my senior years, I find myself becoming more and more afraid for my safety and the safety of my wife. Law enforcement is sworn to uphold the laws, not protect me. Almost on a daily basis I read in the newspaper and see television reports of killings and various violent assualts on innocent people. Just eight weeks ago, I underwent my third joint replacement surgery. I am unable to either run or fight if assualted. If I were to be involved in a violent confrontation, I would have little chance of surviving. The Maryland State Police say that I must furnish proof of a threat on my life, yet I fear that my proof will be my obituary. Today, Maryland is an oasis of opportunity for the criminal element because they know that their victims will likely be unarmed. Throughout the ages, the right of self-protection has been an absolute one. Every state surrounding Maryland enjoys the freedom of self-protection with right-to-carry. Currently, thirty-seven states enjoy this right and in each case, the crime rate has gone down. Citizens with CCW licenses serve as a strong deterrent to criminal activity especially with the on-going war against terror. During 2003, I spent several hundred dollars with a Maryland based company for instruction in the use of deadly force with a handgun. This training included both classroom and range instruction in the safe handling and judicious use of a handgun. I would like to leave you with the following words: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man”. The person who wrote these words – Thomas Jefferson, over two hundred years ago.