Friday, February 23, 2018
Opinion

Sensible gun policies are a must for public safety

Reports of the annual number of gun deaths in this country that use the number of 11,101 are referring exclusively to homicides and vastly misrepresent the number of firearm fatalities annually in this country.

The 2011 Center of Disease Control report shows 31,940 people killed by guns including nearly 20,000 suicides and 851 accidents. These sobering statistics suggest that guns are simply too dangerous in the hands of the untrained, depressed, seriously mentally ill, and criminals.

Arguments against sensible gun control ring hollow when looking at the data.

When I served in the U.S. Army, no soldier got close to a weapon without appropriate classroom training in gun safety and the mechanics of the weapons. After such training we were given our weapons and spent hours cleaning them, taking them apart, and putting them back together with more safety training.

At the firing range, the sergeant initially gave us one bullet at a time to discharge at a target. When he was satisfied that we operated our weapon safely, he gave us one clip. I trained on the M1 Garand. After firing the weapon on the shooting range the guns were locked up. Nobody kept a weapon in his possession except during firearms training. No soldier faced the enemy without comprehensive training on any weapon he would use including pistols, rifles, machine guns, surface-to-air missiles and so forth.

No one should be able to purchase any firearm without an extensive background check. No one should be able to purchase a firearm without gun-safety training. Firearms should be purchased only from authorized gun dealers. Every firearm should be registered. No clip should hold more than seven rounds, and military style weapons should be banned from the public. Sensible gun policy is not about taking guns away but identifying those who should not have guns.

Pasco County allows gun shows and flea markets to sell weapons without three-day waiting periods or background checks even though retail gun dealers must follow the state law. Individuals can sell guns to each other with no restriction. Hillsborough, Pinellas and Hernando counties have all strengthened restrictions for gun purchases. Pasco needs to follow suit.

Along with gun control, mental health needs of residents must be addressed. The refunding, and reopening of a comprehensive network of state mental health hospitals and evaluation centers will accomplish much to reduce the number of dangerously mentally ill that walk our streets. Assuring medications and outpatient as well as inpatient mental health services will curb sociopathic behavior responsible for terrible incidents that have become too common in America.

Should no appropriate actions be forthcoming from Congress to address sensible gun control and the critical funding for mental health services, rest assured more tragedies will occur.

Ninety U.S. residents die each day from gun fire.

Dr. Marc Yacht is retired director of the Pasco Health Department.

Comments
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nationís conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places ó South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington ó as survivors, victimsí families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18