Back from Sudan, Wolf to Offer Views on Crisis

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 5, 2004 | Go to article overview

Back from Sudan, Wolf to Offer Views on Crisis


Byline: Christina Bellantoni, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Rep. Frank R. Wolf tomorrowwill discuss a recent trip he took to Darfur, the war-torn region of western Sudan.

Mr. Wolf, Virginia Republican, traveled with U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, to the region last week to assess the humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Wolf's staff said a press conference is planned for tomorrow, and the two lawmakers will report on their findings and offer suggestions for helping the Sudanese.

During the trip, Mr. Wolf and Mr. Brownback toured villages and visited camps for internally displaced people.

Both Mr. Wolf and Mr. Brownback have made previous trips to Sudan.

* Guns and ballots

Maryland gun owners must wield more political clout, says state Sen. Alex X. Mooney, co-chairman of a newly formed group that aims to register them to vote.

The Second Amendment Coalition, named for the constitutional provision guaranteeing Americans' right to keep and bear arms, went to work late last month at a Frederick gun show. Mr. Mooney, Frederick Republican, and co-chairman Robert Culver of Burtonsville said they will visit other gun shows in Maryland this summer to distribute voter-registration forms and pro-voting bumper stickers.

Neither had statistics on the number of Maryland gun owners who aren't registered voters.

Mr. Mooney said Second Amendment proponents "tend to be people who don't want the government to intervene in their lives as far as taking away their guns, and generally tend to be people that don't turn to government" for services.

"Perhaps in return they don't feel the need to get involved in the government process as much," he said.

In a press release announcing the drive, Mr. Mooney said gun owners "need to become a major political force" in Maryland. "The 2AM Coalition will make gun owners aware that every day, liberal politicians are working in Annapolis and in Washington to take away their constitutional right to own a gun."

Mr. Mooney has opposed gun-control measures such as Maryland's requirement that all handguns sold in the state be equipped with integrated trigger locks, and a proposed state ban on assault-style weapons, which failed by one vote in a Senate committee this year.

Leah Barrett, executive director of the gun-control group Ceasefire Maryland, said the Second Amendment Coalition is merely a Republican publicity ploy. She said that during the debate about banning semiautomatic rifles, which Mr. Mooney calls "sport-utility guns," gun-rights advocates packed the hearing room.

"These guys have a lot of - I guess you could term it passion - on their side, so I don't see that that's the problem in Maryland," she said. "The ones who feel passionately that everyone should have an assault weapon, I don't think that these guys are the ones who are lackadaisical about voting."

* Prison time

Former Richmond City Council member Gwen C. Hedgepeth was sentenced Friday to 44 months in federal prison for taking $2,500 in bribes for her votes on two council appointments.

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson scolded Hedgepeth for selling her vote and breaching the public's trust.

"There is no question you have tarnished the reputation of this city," Judge Hudson told her.

Minutes earlier, Hedgepeth apologized as she cried uncontrollably before the judge. She then launched into a rambling speech about him, the prosecutors, the criminal charges and her family. …

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