Checks needed at gun shows
The one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 children and six adults died, was Dec. 14. Nothing has changed. Over the past year, 11,094 Americans have died of gun violence. Last year, there were 310 violent crimes involving guns in Pasco County.
In February 2013 the County Commission voted to hold a public hearing on requiring background checks at Pasco gun shows, as is required for all sales by licensed firearms dealers. At the March meeting, lacking the political will, they delayed holding a hearing. The excuse given for not even wanting to hear what Pasco citizens had to say was provided by Senior Assistant Pasco County Attorney Kristi Sims. She stated the commission had the power to establish background checks at gun shows but recommended the commission wait to hold a public hearing until a lawsuit in Pinellas County was resolved.
Pinellas County enforces background checks at gun shows. This has not reduced the number of gun shows but has stopped felons and the mentally ill from purchasing firearms. A hearing for the lawsuit was held on August 26, and it was subsequently dismissed by the judge. The lawsuit has been decided. The rational given for not holding a hearing no longer exists.
Background checks for the purchase of firearms work. They reduce the murder rate of women by 38 percent and firearm suicide rates by 48 percent. In addition, gun trafficking is 48 percent lower. Since the National Instant Criminal Background Check System was established, over 1.5 million criminals and mentally ill have been stopped from getting firearms. Keeping firearms out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill is not a threat to our Second Amendment rights but protects our right to life.
Ninety-four percent of Floridians favor background checks for the purchase of firearms. It is time for the Pasco County Commission to allow a public hearing on requiring criminal background checks for the purchase of firearms at gun shows. What do commissioners fear from hearing from the citizens they represent?
Lynn W. Lindeman, Hudson
Elevated toll road
Taxpayers still pay for toll roads
A recent story about a private elevated toll road above State Roads 54 and 56 mentions that one objective of the project is to "expand the highway system without burdening taxpayers."
Who, but taxpayers, are going to use this toll road and be burdened with the toll?
Billions of Florida taxpayer dollars tendered at the gas pump as federal transportation tax have been handed back to Uncle Sam by Gov. Rick Scott only to be snatched up by other states for high speed rail infrastructure.
Is not infrastructure, roads, bridges, sewers, water treatment facilities, the things that government is meant to supply and support?
Already industry has taken a large portion of our education system private through charter schools. Penal institutions are up for grabs in the Sunshine State. A toll is a tax by another name.
Joe King, New Port Richey
Soft fur soothes the court jitters | Dec. 8, article
Good news is a pleasure to read
Thank you for the story about the therapy dogs used in the Pasco County courtrooms. It was a pleasure reading a positive story about something happening in Pasco County.
As a volunteer with the Humane Society of Pasco, I know first hand how much joy animals can bring to people. Unfortunately, the stories about Pasco animals of late have not been so uplifting.
The way to change the world is to focus and celebrate the good that people do. I commend the Tampa Bay Times for doing just that. Keep the happy stories coming!
Sharon Scheiblein, Hudson