A memorial fund to promote control of handguns has been established by family and friends of Dr. Halberstam, the nationally known cardiologist and author who was slain last Friday by a burglar he surprised in his home.

The fund, called the Halberstam Handgun Control Memorial, will be used in an effort to tighten gun control laws in states that have lenient provisions, according to John W. Hechinger, a local hardware chain store entrepreneur and a friend of Halberstam.

Acknowledging that the District of Columbia has one of the nation's most restrictive gun control laws, Hechinger said the problem must be addressed on a nationwide level. "If we don't stop this mayhem and stop handguns from being bought on any corner, we are destroying life in our cities," Hechinger said.

He noted that Halberstam on Nov. 21 had given a commentary on handgun control on Cable News Network, for whom he regularly broadcast his opinions. c"I'm not one of those doctors who's always warning his patients not to take chances. . . . But I want to take my own chances, not someone else's. That's why I'm in favor of handgun control," Halberstam said.

"I don't wanna be the guy shot when I honk at the guy next to me and he reaches in his glove compartment and starts blasting away. I don't want my son shot when some punk holds up a filling station where he works, panics and starts shooting," Halberstam said.

"It's ironic that [less than] 30 days later this terrible thing has happened to him," Hechinger said.

Hechinger said the fatal shootings Monday of a bank customer by a holdup man in a downtown Washington bank and of popular Beatles rock star John Lennon in New York "doubly point out" the problem.

"This is a national cause," said Hechinger, who is on the board of directors of Handgun Control Inc., an educational and lobbying organization. d

Among those supporting creation of the fund are Halberstam's widow, Elliott Jones, and his brother, author and journalist David Halberstam.

Contributions to the fund can be sent in the name of the Halberstam Handgun Control Memorial, to Handgun Control Inc., 810 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20006.