Friday, December 15, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Gun laws can work to stem violence

Issue of controls far from settled | Dec. 18

Laws can work to stem violence

The National Firearms Act of 1934, as amended, has been effective in almost eliminating the criminal misuse of fully automatic weapons. The act was such a success in controlling submachine guns and other gangster-type weapons, such as sawed-off shotguns, silencers, etc., that Congress passed the Federal Firearms Act of 1938. This law was weak and ineffective so Congress tried to strengthen it with the Gun Control Act of 1968, which also regulated the interstate trafficking of firearms.

During my 30-year career as an ATF agent, I and my fellow agents used the provisions of these laws for many search and arrest warrants involving everything from narcotics traffickers to violent criminal gangs. It is impossible to measure the number of violent crimes that were not committed due to a person being arrested for lying during the acquisition of a firearm, possessing a firearm as a convicted felon or possessing an unregistered sawed-off shotgun, for example. Based on my experience, the number is substantial. The current federal gun laws are enforced and they are effective. However, they could be much more effective if it were not for the extremist leadership of certain gun organizations that constantly attempt to weaken such laws.

Could the current laws have prevented the most recent tragedy or some of the other mass shootings? Probably not. However, in the short term, enacting well-thought-out federal legislation would require: a short waiting period and background checks, including for purchases at gun shows; limiting the acquisition of certain types of so-called assault weapons; and limiting magazine capacity. These measures might help prevent or lessen the effect of such attacks.

In the long term, the only effective means of curbing the epidemic of gun violence (short of outlawing guns, which I do not support) is to enact a modified version of the NFA that would require the registration/licensing of all handguns.

John M. Manson, Sun City Center

2nd amendment's meaning has evolved Dec. 19, commentary

Fresh look at amendment

I was struck by the historical possibility this tragedy presents to elevate our understanding of the U.S. Constitution. After viewing the film Lincoln and its story of the birth of the 13th Amendment (which ran counter to our nation's understanding of race and ethnicity), I believe it is now possible to begin a dialogue on the true nature of the 2nd Amendment. It is time that we begin to understand the historical period in which it was crafted and the reasons for its adoption.

Surely if there is any tyranny that now exists, it is the fear of the National Rifle Association's lobbying power. A historical illiteracy perpetuates this fear and paralyzes our ability to view the Constitution as our framers intended — as a living document, to be amended as "we the people" see fit.

Charles Travis IV, Largo

Claim falls flat

I look forward to the day when the contention that "guns keep us safe" is met with the same wry smile we currently offer when we see those old ads that feature doctors endorsing cigarettes. A lie is a lie, no matter who tells it or how often we hear it.

Chip Haynes, Clearwater

A changed world

My father brought guns to school. All the boys did. My father was born in 1913 and began school in about 1919, in a rural area of the South.

Each morning he packed up his books and a rifle and walked to the schoolhouse. After school, he would walk back home and see if he could pick off some meat for the supper table. All the boys did.

Boys being boys, there were sometimes fights. These were decided by fists, not guns, and when one of the boys was on the ground, the fight was over. No kicking, no stabbing, no shooting. Ever.

During that era, there was not one child killed in a school by guns. Yet guns were more freely available then than they are now. Anyone could walk in off the street, put down his money, and walk out of the store with a pistol, rifle or shotgun, and all the ammo he wanted. There was no ID check, just the money.

So why is it not that way now? What changed?

Robert Arvay, Tampa

Weapon without reason

In my opinion, there is no good reason for a citizen to possess a semiautomatic weapon. Whether for hunting or home protection, a semiautomatic weapon, particularly assault weaponry, is akin to catching a butterfly with a shotgun.

In regard to reining in semiautomatic weaponry, I can only say: If not now, when?

William F. Moyse, Ruskin

Right of self-defense

Your editorials keep putting the blame on firearms for unspeakable acts committed by irrational people. You think these people are rushing to gun shows to purchase firearms so they can go on a shooting rampage? Where is your proof of this?

One million people in Florida with concealed weapons permits tells me they can't count on law enforcement to be there in their time of need.

Robert Simister, Seminole

Apology attached to crash statistics | Dec. 14

It's all about money

The theoretical reason behind red-light cameras has merit: to penalize drivers who blow through red lights. Unfortunately, there's theory and then there is reality. The irresponsible driver who passes straight through an intersection when the light is red deserves a ticket. The responsible driver who makes a slow, rolling right-hand turn in a dedicated turning lane after verifying that it is safe to proceed does not. But they both pay the same fine, and interestingly enough, neither driver ends up with any points or an entry on their motor vehicle record.

Does that make any sense? Oh, and if you decide to fight the ticket and you lose, besides paying the fine with additional penalties and court costs, the ticket can now appear on your driving record. Sure sounds to me like a system that was designed to bring in revenue. The reality is these cameras are as much about raising revenue as they are about safety.

Rodger Elgar, Tampa


Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17