Letters to the Editor

Don't reveal the names of concealed weapon permit holders

Guess which ones carry guns | Feb. 22, editorial

Don't reveal permit holders' names

Why on earth would you want to open the database of concealed weapon permit holders to the public? If I have satisfied the state and I am "permitted" to carry a concealed weapon, what business is it of yours? Would you feel safer knowing or would you be suspicious of my motives? If I were a criminal, I wouldn't bother to get a permit. I would just carry and you wouldn't know. Would you be any safer?

I can think of reasons not to make this information public, the first of which is that it is none of your business. I am a law-abiding citizen exercising a fundamental right to carry a gun and protect myself and my family.

Second, part of the utility of carrying a concealed weapon is that people don't know if you carry or not. It makes me safer if criminals wonder if "prey" are armed and therefore stay away from all of us.

Lastly, publishing names will increase the likelihood of burglary. If I know your name, I can find out where you live. I break into your house, steal your guns and voila: The unintended consequence is higher crimes and more guns on the street carried by people who don't believe in permits at all, and whom you wouldn't want to meet on a dark street. Keep the database confidential.

Check the statistics. There have been very few problems with concealed weapon permit holders causing crime. Leave them alone.

Winston Neilsen, St. Petersburg

Guess which ones carry guns Feb. 22, editorial

There is no right to know

Your unsigned editorial states that "the right to carry a concealed weapon should not trample the right to know who has a permit to carry one." What "right to know"? I have found no such "right" thus far in either the U.S. or Florida Constitutions or U.S. Code or Florida statutes.

Your freedom of speech right under the First Amendment confers no more "right to know" who has permits than my old military Top Secret clearance (which I held years ago) gave me any "need to know" about the classified documents within the command beyond my limited job description. This restriction upon my "need to know" was a matter of policy through statute and Army regulation. Our Legislature's exclusion of your sphere of inquiry is likewise a matter of well-founded public policy.

The right to keep and bear arms is not a "collective" right, but an individual right. Your editorial writer needs to review last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Heller (protecting an individual's right to possess a firearm for private use) before further attempting to create nonexistent rights out of your antigun "wish list."

John Wallace Hamilton, St. Petersburg

Guess which ones carry guns Feb. 22, editorial

Help for criminals

The only people I know who would love to find out who has a concealed weapons permit are the criminals. They would then know who they could target for robberies. (They better make sure no one is home first.)

Since permit carriers have passed the requirements necessary to obtain a permit and are probably some of our most law-abiding citizens, why should you care who has a permit? I think a neighbor would be more worried about a criminal than a person with a concealed weapons permit.

Robert L. Simister, Seminole

Guess which ones carry guns Feb. 22, editorial

Doubt as a shield

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have" This quote seems a fitting response to the Times' obvious antigun editorial position Sunday, and in a perfect world, I would agree. But this is far from a perfect world and getting farther every day.

Crime remains a concern. Whether a fault of economic hard times or greedy opportunism, law enforcement seems no longer able to adequately protect the public. Many Floridians, like myself, are too old to fight and too fat to run. The only protection we have is the doubt that must run through a potential perpetrator's mind, "Guess which ones carry guns."

Not knowing which neighbor or co-worker chooses to exercise their Second Amendment rights and "legally" carry should merely serve to make us more respectful of all their rights, feelings and property. And God forbid, should we have to help take our country back from threats from within or without, by force of arms, we should all feel the safer for it!

Everett Melnick, St. Petersburg

1st smoking suit costs Philip Morris $8M | Feb. 19

It was no secret

While I empathize with anyone who has lost a spouse, I frankly do not understand why a jury would award $8-million to the widow of a lifetime smoker who died at 55 as a result of his smoking. It is difficult for me to believe he did not know he should not smoke before he allegedly became addicted. Everyone knew at least 50 years ago that smoking was a harmful habit.

My mother had warned me more than 50 years ago that smoking was harmful, and she asked me to promise I would never smoke. I promised and have never smoked.

I have to assume that it was a young jury that made this decision. They must have been unaware that he should have known when he began smoking that it was harmful and addictive, and yet he continued smoking during his lifetime.

Thomas D. Dolan, New Port Richey

Head slap disrupts murder trial Feb. 20, story

Professional behavior

What would you do if you were slapped in the face by your boss during the workday? How many of us would report the incident, quit or make sure that the boss was punished? How many of us would ignore what happened and continue to work diligently? I submit that few if any of us would continue the workday after such a violent incident.

In this climate of lawyer jokes, attorney Geoff Cox took a hard slap to the face from a client on trial for felony murder. And what did he do in response? He proceeded to defend him to the best of his ability without taking into account the idiocy of his client. Better yet, he told the jury everything was fine and asked them not to focus on the outburst.

Attorney Cox exhibited the highest standard of professionalism and commitment to his client. Unfortunately, his client will never truly appreciate the how fortunate he was to have Geoff as his advocate. So next time you hear a lawyer joke, take a moment to reflect on the honorable display of Geoff Cox.

Charles R. Gallagher III, St. Petersburg

More building needed

A number of your readers expressed dismay Saturday over the Legislature attempting to ease permitting. This is a myopic view considering the economic crisis we are in. Growth is what will stimulate this economy. If we ease permitting, people will be put back to work. Contractors, architects, masons, electricians, plumbers, manufacturers, retail outlets, lumber mills, etc., will once again have money in their pockets.

Often it takes years and years to get a permit for something as simple as building a dock. Often numerous agencies put up unnecessary and redundant roadblocks to a simple construction project.

If the state of Florida wants to restrict building, this is not the time to do so. Let's do whatever we can to get the economy rolling.

Nelson Stambaugh, Palm Harbor

Presidential omission

We were disappointed to see that the St. Petersburg Times appeared to forget what day it was on Sunday. It was George Washington's birthday and there was not one mention of it in your paper.

We feel that the father of our country deserves more respect than that. Fat Tuesday even gets more coverage.

Ron Bowman, Dunedin

The death beat | Feb. 22, Floridian story

Celebrating life

Although it may sound ironic or macabre, I enjoyed reading about how Stephanie Hayes has transitioned to a new job and gained lots of wisdom in her recent work as an obituary writer.

She made a great point in her article: Obits don't have to be depressing or feel like one is preparing for doomsday by reading one. Rather, the variety of obits reflect an individual's life — from birth to childhood, adolescence to adulthood, and adulthood to old age.

Besides, we should remind ourselves that humans cannot live forever. Instead, let us celebrate and reflect upon the eclectic lives of people, which are inevitably brimming with excitement, some disappointment and surely with awe.

Nora Zaki, Lithia

Don't reveal the names of concealed weapon permit holders 02/24/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 10:33pm]

    

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