Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Gun reforms gaining ground in Congress

There are encouraging signs that Congress might wrestle free from the grip of the National Rifle Association. A growing number of lawmakers from both parties appear open to limiting the size of ammunition magazines and to closing the loopholes that enable criminals to buy guns without a background check. These are sensible reforms that put public safety first without infringing on the rights of legal gun owners. Lawmakers should seize this chance to establish common ground and reduce the emotion of an issue where lives hang in the balance.

The New York Times reported last week that more members of Congress are looking at the size of high-capacity magazines and the requirement for background checks as areas where legislators on both sides of the gun-rights issue might find agreement. That would represent a step forward for public safety and a new route around the impasse over assault weapons that has prompted Congress to stall on gun control for the better part of a decade.

Military-style assault weapons have no legitimate purpose off the battlefields. They are made for killing humans as rapidly as possible, and Congress should reimpose and extend the ban that expired in 2004. But any comprehensive measure would also address the high-capacity magazines that contribute to mass killings. And no responsible gun owner could object to closing the loopholes that allow roughly 40 percent of all gun sales to qualify as private transactions and thus not require the buyer to submit to a federal background check.

Banning magazines that can hold dozens of rounds might be an inconvenience for those who shoot targets. But it could save lives if it forces inexperienced shooters in particular to fumble and change magazines instead of continuing to fire away at victims. A poll last month found that nearly two-thirds of adults nationwide favor a limit on the size of magazines. This would be a useful step — and safe politically. Congress should not wait.

Requiring near-universal background checks would help, too, both in keeping weapons from criminals and the mentally ill and in tracking sales to crack down on straw buyers. Having the right to possess a gun does not come with the constitutional protection to deceive authorities who are obligated and entrusted to enforce the law. A criminal could still find ways to avoid even a universal check. But the change would fortify a safety net that is currently full of holes. And closer scrutiny of gun purchases could dampen the trafficking in guns by straw buyers who are nothing but conduits for crime.

Restricting magazine sizes and requiring more background checks of gun buyers does not come close to raising Second Amendment issues, except to the most extreme in the gun rights lobby. A ban on assault weapons should be included in the mix, but the stalemate over that issue should not derail every other positive step. There is growing public support for limiting magazine sizes and additional background checks, and Congress should pursue those measures now even if an assault weapons ban remains elusive.

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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...
Updated: 8 hours ago

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...
Updated: 8 hours ago
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

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18