Saturday, April 21, 2018
Public safety

Sue Carlton: A week later, is there hope for reason on guns?

In the week that has passed since an armed madman burst into an elementary school, since the still-unfathomable violence that left 20 children and seven adults dead, a lot of voices are calling for some sanity at last when it comes to guns.

We are now talking about a ban on assault weapons like the one that expired in 2004 and about closing a ludicrous loophole that lets people buy weapons without required background checks. President Obama himself promises a push for gun control — along with serious discussion of other factors like access to mental health care and brutal, casual violence in America's pop culture.

If anything can come from what happened a week ago, exploring ways to prevent this kind of horrific scene from happening again is surely a start.

Then, there are other voices in the aftermath.

The National Rifle Association, that feared lobbying muscle that finds no pro-gun legislation too absurd and contends we have a God-given right to our guns in parks and at work and on our hips at the grocery, will break its silence about this latest tragedy today. In a brief news release, the NRA says its members are sons and daughters and mothers and fathers grieving like the rest of us and promises "to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

How positive, how enlightened, how moving it would be to see the NRA step up today and say: We believe in the Second Amendment and will continue to fight for the right of Americans to have guns.

But the sale of military-style assault weapons?

And the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips?

No, the NRA could say today, we won't stand in the way of a ban. Because that's not what responsible gun ownership is about.

And: Right.

What do you want to bet "meaningful contributions" will translate to pointing only at other factors undeniably at play — mental health care, the dulling onslaught of violence in movies and video games, the safety of our schools — without dealing with the availability of guns at the root of this and other American massacres?

Others — Ocala's own state Rep. Dennis Baxley among them — are with a straight face saying what we really need now is to turn our schools into armed camps where even teachers and principals can pack firepower, . Some states are already backing laws to make it happen. People are talking bulletproof backpacks.

Given the politics of our guns, maybe this is no surprise.

But the idea of more, not fewer, guns where they do not belong — in schools with children and teachers who are there to teach and not act as armed guards — is beyond unbelievable to me.

The debate here is about reasonable regulation on our right to bear arms, a right that despite what some people will tell you is not unfettered. Yes, guns kill people, which is why rules to keep them out of the hands of those who should not have them are not the evil in this.

Even with all this debate and talk of change spurred by unthinkable tragedy, will anything be different in the end? A year from now, will anything have changed?

Because the worst that can come after the worst already happened is this:

Nothing, and then more of the same.

Comments
New Port Richey Woman dies in single-car crash on SR 580

New Port Richey Woman dies in single-car crash on SR 580

A 49-year-old woman died early Saturday in a single-car crash on State Road 580.Kristin Carlin, of New Port Richey, was driving in the eastbound lanes of SR 580 when she failed to round a curve and veered off the road near Charles Avenue, a Clearwate...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

The first time deputies arrested Samuel Morrissey Jr., he faced charges of possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed firearm. He plead no contest in September, and the judge gave him a break by withholding adjudication. Ten days later, the 20-...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Deputies arrested a man they said tackled a woman in February and removed her shorts before fleeing.Robert Mark Hembree Jr., 31, was arrested late Friday. He faces charges of sexual battery and petit theft.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Detectives seek man who a...
Published: 04/21/18
Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

A Pasco County man was struck and killed in an apparent hit-and-run early Saturday, police said.Thomas Michael Burdeshaw, 53, who lived on Sundance Drive in Dade City, was hit about 1:45 a.m. on the 36000 block of Blanton Road, police said.Witnesses ...
Published: 04/21/18
Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

CLEARWATER — Police are looking for a person who shot and killed a man late Friday at the Melrose on the Bay apartments on Bolesta Road. Ricardo Guzman, 32, called 911 just before midnight and told the operator he had been shot, said Lt. Randall Chan...
Published: 04/21/18
Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

TAMPA — A motorcyclist driving north on Memorial Highway died after he crashed into a guard rail late Friday, police said."The man failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a guard rail," said Lt. Brett Owen. "No other vehicle was involved i...
Published: 04/21/18
Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

LARGO — Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate."I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip, was shot and...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Published: 04/20/18
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG — Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Published: 04/20/18

Deputies: 19-month-old child found in New Port Richey pond has died

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 19-month-old child that was found in a pond on Thursday afternoon has died, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 12:31 p.m. Deputies and firefighters were called out to a home in the 47...
Published: 04/20/18