Two years ago, Marylanders voted overwhelmingly for a landmark law banning low-quality crime guns -- despite a $7 million campaign by the National Rifle Association. What was accomplished {"How the Best of Intentions Went Terribly Awry," Close to Home, Nov. 25}?

Because of our new law, 113 low-quality crime guns are now illegal to sell in Maryland. Among these are the derringer and two weapons -- the Raven MP-25 and the Jennings J-22 -- listed by the Cox Newspapers as among the nation's top five crime guns.

The 1988 law works, because it outlaws the sale of any handguns not explicitly approved by the Handgun Roster Board. Gun dealers must prove that a particular handgun is useful for legitimate purposes. Thus, the law prohibits not only those 20 or so handgun models the board has explicitly rejected but also dozens of guns that are so plainly Saturday night specials that gun dealers have not even bothered to seek board approval.

In addition to banning Saturday night specials, Maryland's 1988 vote let elected officials know that voters will support reasonable measures to control gun violence no matter how much money the NRA spends to try to persuade them otherwise. This message has been heard around the country.

Prior to our Maryland victory, serious efforts to enact gun control legislation at the state and local levels were stymied by the fear that the NRA was invincible at the polls. Since our victory, major gun control bills have been enacted in a dozen states and more than three dozen cities and counties. Even in Congress, a majority of senators voted for the first time to ban domestically manufactured assault weapons.

Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse has no interest in banning all handguns. Its members simply demand that reasonable measures be taken to reduce the tragic daily toll of gun violence. We will, for example, no longer tolerate the fact that every day 10 American children ages 18 and younger are killed in handgun suicides, homicides and accidents, while many others are wounded.

During the 1991 session of the Maryland General Assembly, our group will work toward legislation to require gun owners to keep loaded weapons out of the reach of children. There is no excuse for the tragedy of kids killing and maiming one another because they mistake a gun for a toy. Florida, Iowa and Connecticut have recently passed such laws.

Beyond the 1991 session, we will continue to educate Marylanders about the hazards of easy access to handguns. And we will never let our politicians forget the primary lesson of 1988 -- that we the people of Maryland -- not the gun lobby -- will decide how to reduce gun violence in our state. -- Vincent DeMarco represents Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse.