Gun debate does not step on rights
We were at the meeting when Commissioner Jack Mariano's proclamation was read. It was not a call to reaffirm support for the Constitution; it was in fact an instrument written with the sole purpose of taking away the rights of citizens to be heard on a request.
This was a deplorable attempt by Commissioner Mariano to show his contempt for the people and a laudable action by Commissioner Pat Mulieri who called him on it and said it was just an attempt to block further hearings on the closing of the gun show loophole.
Discussing closing the gun show loophole does not in any way infringe on the Second Amendment, and this action is supported by the majority of the people, including gun owners.
Even the NRA's favorite Supreme Court judge, Justice Scalia, agrees. Here is what he said: "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."
To conjure up a convoluted proclamation to try to block a public hearing on something the people support is insulting and indeed sad.
We are sure that 99.9 percent of the individuals that take part in the governing process respect and honor our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, which give us the right of having fair hearings. We should take this very small step to at least ensure some modicum of safety on the sale of guns in Pasco and ensuring that we are not arming criminals.
Patricia and Ed Houghtalen, New Port Richey
Sad treatment of Constitution | March 31, letter
Democrats were unfairly blamed
Let's correct the inaccuracy regarding whether Democrats at the March 19 Pasco County Commission meeting jeered and booed during the attempt by Jack Mariano to force fellow commissioners to declare the obvious — that they support the U.S. Constitution. Democrats neither booed nor jeered. Anyone, including this letter writer, can see for themselves by going to www.pascocountyfl.net,then clicking on "Pasco TV."
I am a former U.S. Marine Corps captain who swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution, who fought in Vietnam against our designated enemies, and I am both a gun owner and registered Independent voter.
Yes, there was booing — directed at Mariano who put this outrageous resolution in front of his colleagues for one reason only — to force them into not signing it and looking bad politically, or having them sign it so when he tries to prevent fixing the gun show loophole of background checks, the commissioners appear like traitors, or hypocrites, or anti-NRA.
The real un-American behavior came not from the Democrats there to demand a hearing on the gun show loophole, but from right-winger thugs who didn't just storm out when they failed, they also made a point of photographing each Democrat close-up, then calling them un-American for seeing through Mariano's blatant political ploy.
Enough with the false alarm. Democrats are still American citizens, and Pasco County commissioners still lack the courage and common sense to prevent gun shows from providing lethal weapons to the mentally ill, the felon and ex-felon, and woman-beaters.
Daniel Callaghan, New Port Richey
Use background checks in Pasco
In late March, the FBI raided a felon's home in Pasco and the man was found to have an "enormous" quantity of guns and ammunition. His arsenal included seven automatic assault rifles.
It is illegal for a felon to own a firearm? How do felons get these weapons? They can use straw buyers or steal them, both of course illegal. Better yet, they can go to a gun show in Pasco County and purchase them from a private dealer without a background check.
Last year 750 felons were arrested in the Tampa area, which includes Pasco, in possession of firearms. All the other counties in the Tampa area require background checks for the purchase of firearms at gun shows, but not Pasco. Why do Pasco County Commissioners allow this practice to continue when all they have to do is exercise their constitutional right to require background checks at gun shows in Pasco?
Hal Chase, Hudson
Krewe dress-up dishonors Indians
There is one race of people that seems to be left out of the whole equal-and-matter dialog going on in America — the Native American.
But, there is a whole lot of "honoring" of Native Americans. We dress up like an Indian for Halloween. We name sports teams after nations. And, how about those neat dream-catchers we hang from the rearview mirrors?
So, once again the Krewe of Chasco, educated professional members of Pasco County, play dress-up and call it "honor." The Krewe tosses out beads like the lives of the Native Americans were tossed out. If the Krewe of Chasco had any conscience it would educate with truth rather than eradicate with lies.
Peno Hardesty, New Port Richey
Food giveaway draws crowd March 27 article
Food pantries do the best they can
The story quoted a woman who said, "there's a couple of other food banks, but they only hand out bread.''
Last year, the Volunteer Way Food Bank distributed 7.5 million pounds of food in Pasco County to hungry families and to 46 food pantries and soup kitchens. Of the 7.5 million pounds, there was only 1.5 million pounds of bread, cakes and sweets. The rest was meat, canned goods, vegetables and fruits. We also grow our own vegetables and distribute to the needy.
We are the largest food bank that donates all our food free of charge.
Most food banks charge a handling fee to the pantries and soup kitchens. We also served, at our soup kitchen, 43,689 hot meals consisting of soup, steak, fish, pasta and sandwiches to the homeless and unemployed.
Many of the food pantries that do not come to us for help get bread and cakes from supermarkets.
These items are all that food pantries are able to pass out to the needy. Most food banks charge handling fees for other food items and most food pantries can't afford the fee. That is why they only distribute bread and cakes. They do the best they can.
Lester Cypher, CEO, the Volunteer Way, New Port Richey