Tuesday, January 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: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Something is seriously amiss at Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource agencies, which receive millions in federal and state money to match unemployed workers with local employers. First, the agencies appear to be taking credit — and money — for job placements...
Published: 01/22/18

A Chicago Tribune editorial: Shut down this shutdown habit

"Shutting down the government of the United States of America should never ever be a bargaining chip for any issue. Period. It should be to governing as chemical warfare is to real warfare. It should be banned."— Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., addressing ...
Published: 01/22/18
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18