Saturday, October 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: A new pitch for universal background checks for gun sales

A national group of law enforcement leaders meeting in Orlando this week renewed the reasonable call for mandatory background checks on all gun purchases, and it's time public officials in Tallahassee and Washington listened to them rather than the National Rife Association. The law enforcement groups don't write big campaign checks like the NRA, but their voices should be heard as they continue to plead for common sense in closing loopholes in screening gun buyers. Universal background checks will not wipe out gun violence, but they would be an important tool in limiting access to guns by those who already are not legally supposed to have firearms.

Twenty years ago, the federal Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act went into effect. The law requires background checks for guns purchased through federally licensed dealers. But screening of potential gun owners is not required for private sales, including transactions conducted online or at gun shows. Both Congress and the Florida Legislature have rebuffed every prudent attempt to close the loopholes.

Members of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence said on Monday that expanded background checks are needed to keep guns out of dangerous hands. The group held a news conference at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference in Orlando and cited a host of grim statistics about gun deaths as evidence of the need for expanded background checks. Guns are the leading cause of deaths for officers in the line of duty, and 41 officers have been shot and killed so far this year, an increase of 64 percent over 2013. Gun deaths in the United States rose to 91 per day in 2012, up from 82 per day a decade earlier.

There is fresh evidence of the need for stricter control on gun sales. A shooting at a school in Washington state last week left three students dead, including the 15-year-old gunman. That same day, two sheriff's deputies in California were shot and killed in the line of duty.

More than 1 million gun sales have been blocked as a result of the Brady Act, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This confirms that screening works to keep guns out of the hands of buyers who should not have access to firearms. Yet an attempt to broaden background checks after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., failed in Congress last year. But there is room for states to act. In Florida, legislators should close the loophole that allows private sales to slip through the cracks. Requiring and submitting to a background check for all gun sales is a reasonable protection and does not infringe upon the constitutional rights of legal gun owners.

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Editorial notebook: Times editorial writers reminisce about Sears

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Editorial: FBI should take a hard look at CareerSource

The scrutiny now extends to the state agency that oversees the local jobs centers
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Editorial: Toughen Florida’s building code

Editorial: Toughen Florida’s building code

Experts are right that Hurricane Michael should force a review of Florida’s building standards. While newer homes generally fared better than older ones, the state needs to reassess the risks posed by high winds and storm surge.
Published: 10/19/18
Editorial: Those who fail to cast ballots in Hillsborough are running out of excuses

Editorial: Those who fail to cast ballots in Hillsborough are running out of excuses

You wouldn't skip a trip to the gas pump, would you?Then don't miss the chance to cast your general election ballot, either, when Hillsborough County opens its many early voting sites Monday morning for a two-week engagement.If you do your homework a...
Published: 10/19/18

Editorial: Glazer Children’s Museum quickly regained its step

Jennifer Stancil was terminated from her $169,280 a year job last month as museum president and chief executive, a post she held for three years. Exactly why remained a mystery to those outside the museum.
Published: 10/18/18
Updated: 10/19/18
Editorial: Trump should demand Saudis account for journalist

Editorial: Trump should demand Saudis account for journalist

Twenty-seven journalists have been murdered so far this year just for doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. That number doesn’t even include Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident journalist who hasn’t been ...
Published: 10/17/18
Updated: 10/19/18
Editorial: Restart selection process for Florida Supreme Court justices

Editorial: Restart selection process for Florida Supreme Court justices

The Florida Supreme Court reached the right conclusion by ruling that the next governor has the authority to appoint three new justices to the court rather than departing Gov. Rick Scott. That is practical and reasonable, and it reflects the will of ...
Published: 10/16/18
Updated: 10/19/18

Editorial: Housecleaning was necessary at Clearwater parks department

The theft of money and a hostile atmosphere show a city department out of control
Published: 10/15/18
Updated: 10/19/18
Editorial: Bilirakis mimics Trump, colleagues in misleading voters

Editorial: Bilirakis mimics Trump, colleagues in misleading voters

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis wants voters to believe he is different than his Republican colleagues in Congress and President Donald Trump. The Palm Harbor Republican says he pays more attention to local issues than to the president, claims he doesnȁ...
Published: 10/15/18
Updated: 10/16/18
Editorial: Answering questions about Hillsborough school tax

Editorial: Answering questions about Hillsborough school tax

The Hillsborough County school tax on the Nov. 6 ballot is a smart, necessary investment in the nation's eighth-largest school system. The 10-year, half-penny sales tax would create stronger, safer schools and a healthier learning environment for mor...
Published: 10/12/18
Updated: 10/19/18