Sunday, September 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: A small step toward preventing future carnage

This argument can be made in 10 seconds. Find any cellphone video of the massacre in Las Vegas, and listen to the rat-tat-tat of a gun capable of firing hundreds of bullets per minute. Listen for 10 seconds to the confusion, the terror and finally the screams of concertgoers. And then ask yourself why, in America, is it permissible to buy attachments that can essentially turn otherwise legal weapons into illegal machine guns.

A week ago, most Americans had probably never heard of a device known as a bump stock. Ostensibly designed to make it easier for someone with a disability to handle a gun, the attachment was allegedly used by Stephen Paddock to kill people as quickly and efficiently as possible from his perch in a high-rise Las Vegas hotel room Sunday night. Why are these devices legal?

The attachment basically allows a shooter to use his shoulder and a gun's recoil to create a rapid-fire effect that is hard to replicate by simply pulling the trigger. In essence, this $200 device circumvents legislation passed by Congress more than 30 years ago that bans the sale of new automatic weapons. And the bump stock is not the only one. Another after-market modification known as a trigger crank can be attached to the trigger guard and allow a shooter to create a Gatling gun effect. Available online and in some stores, the trigger crank can be purchased for as little as $50. Why are these devices legal?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein once tried to have these accessories banned as part of a larger bill to get rid of assault weapons. That legislation went nowhere in 2013, despite emerging from the shadow of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Conn., months earlier.

Now, in the wake of another mass shooting, Feinstein, Sen. Bill Nelson and two dozen other Democratic senators introduced a bill Wednesday to ban the type of bump stock modifiers found in Paddock's hotel room. Amid all the usual rhetoric about politicizing a tragedy, there were signs that some Republican senators might be inclined to support this new measure. "I'm a hunter and have owned guns my whole life," Nelson said, "But these automatic weapons are not for hunting, they are for killing.''

No one is claiming this legislation would end mass shootings. And it probably won't prevent many of the gun-involved crimes in our nation's largest cities. But that doesn't mean the proposed ban on these devices is without merit. At this point, we should be doing everything we can to make it more difficult for domestic terrorists to carry out their hate-filled agendas.

Instead, as bump stocks and trigger cranks illustrate, we are making mass murder too easy. And if you do not believe that, just consider the House went into this week prepared to vote on a bill that would have eased restrictions on silencers. Just imagine how many more people would have been killed in Las Vegas if they had not fled when they heard the shooting begin.

For Congress, this legislation on gun accessories should be the minimum it should pass. These devices are designed to create carnage and not much else. They have no useful purpose in society, and they should be banned. It is not a Second Amendment question. It is not an attempt to confiscate or ban guns. It is simply a matter common sense and public safety.

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Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Vote by mail has been a stunning success in Florida, increasing turnout and making it easy and convenient to cast a ballot with time to research and reflect. But a new study shows that mail ballots cast by African-American, Hispanic or younger voters...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

State and federal lending regulations exist to protect consumers from being surprised — and overwhelmed — by ballooning debt. Marlin Financial, a shadowy auto lender doing business around Florida, seems to be skirting those protections ...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

In addition to a lesson on political patronage, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam needs a refresher on the particulars of state public records law.In January 2017, Putnam hired the 27-year-old son of a former Publix executive to a high-pay...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

There should be a timely investigation of the allegation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh before senators hear from him and his accuser, let alone vote on whether they should confirm his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The proces...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18