Senate halts gun curbs | April 18
Senate vote compounds despair
Just days after the Newtown, Conn., massacre, I noted in a letter to your editors that media talking heads had been grappling for words to describe their reaction to that horrific event. I submitted my own reaction at the time: despair that any sensible federal gun controls would eventually be adopted.
Four months later, that reaction has been sadly confirmed by Wednesday's Senate vote that failed to pass a compromise bill providing for universal background checks on gun buyers. The outlook for bans on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons is reportedly even more hopeless. While it is well and good that states like New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland have passed strong gun control measures, absent universal controls at the federal level, the laudable efforts by those states will have only limited effects on gun trafficking and the availability of weapons of all sorts to criminals and the mentally unstable.
No doubt champagne corks are popping at the NRA and other pro-gun lobbies. Meanwhile the national body count of gun deaths since Newtown — already in the thousands — continues to mount. How and when will the slaughter end?
Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center
Senate halts gun curbs | April 18
Forty-five senators decided that we do not need laws controlling guns because the criminals do not obey the laws anyway. Therefore, it follows that we do not need speed limits because speeders speed; we do not need laws against robbery because robbers do not obey the law; we do not need murder outlawed because murderers do not follow the law.
Where did these senators learn their logic? They do not represent my logic, and I hold them responsible for all future murders with guns starting today. That is my logic.
Esther Kirk, Riverview
Here's another way to approach the national problem of gun violence: Let sane, law-abiding people have all the (allowed) firearms they want as long as they carry heavy liability insurance for them. Make it a felony to have an uninsured firearm.
Let the actuaries set the rates. A farmer in Idaho with a couple of shotguns in a gun safe would pay a pittance. Adam Lanza's mother wouldn't have been able to afford the premiums.
The insurance industry would view the possible revenue stream and would roll right over the NRA. The political powers-that-be — governors, federal and state legislatures, etc. — would consider the campaign contributions rolling in from the insurance industry and immediately realize that such a law/requirement would indeed be a fine idea, a very noble cause.
This would really tighten up gun ownership, put liability where it belongs and certainly help out crime victims.
Pete Wilford, Holiday
Focus the blame
Your lead headline of April 18 — "Senate halts gun curbs" — missed the mark. It should have read, "Republicans halt gun curbs." Put the blame squarely where it belongs.
Peter Golenbock, St. Petersburg
Serve voters, not NRA
I have never been politically active and have never written to a newspaper until now. I now intend to do both. It is because I was so upset with the votes on gun control. I am ashamed of all who voted against all the bills, but especially Sen. Marco Rubio. I did not vote for him, but I had hopes he would be a fresh face in Washington and we could get some things done. Instead he seems to be all for filibuster and going along with the crowd.
I am sure he wants to at least be a senator again and maybe even president, however if he can't stand up for his beliefs and the beliefs of his people, how can he stand up against China, North Korea or anyone else that might do us harm?
The only reason I can fathom he would vote against these bills is that he wants the money from the NRA. If he wants their money and support instead of ours, he should resign and work for them.
Charles McCuen, Zephyrhills
Breaking the rules | April 16, letter
Respect bikes, pedestrians
I am an avid bicyclist who rides the roads almost daily. I follow the rules, but they do little good for me. Many drivers act as though bikes have no right to be on the road. Recently, a school bus forced me off the road — that was Fort King Highway in Zephyrhills. Drivers have almost run me down in intersections when I have a green light and they make right turns. Drivers have yelled at me through their loudspeakers to get off the road and onto the sidewalk. Firecrackers have been thrown at me. One day, an 18-wheeler actually hit my bike while I was waiting for a light to turn (and I was on the sidewalk then).
I have found that too many drivers in this state have no respect for pedestrians or bicyclists, and there are far too few places to safely walk or to ride safely. The problems here aren't insurmountable, but our climate needs to be pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
William Pike, Zephyrhills
Obama: Budget would cut deficit | April 11
Help nation's seniors
Senior citizens throughout the United States are having enough daily financial problems. We don't need those problems compounded with President Barack Obama's proposed cutback in the Social Security program. Hopefully, the elected officials in Washington will take legislative action to prevent the president's proposal from happening.
In fact, I pray that Washington lawmakers will approve legislation that will forever prohibit any U.S. president or legislator from cutting back benefits and/or having the power to take money out of the Social Security program for anything but money that benefits senior citizens.
Had past presidents and legislators not taken out trillions of dollars from Social Security to benefit their pet projects, our seniors today would have enough money to pay for their day-to-day obligations and some of their health care.
Mr. President and Washington legislators, let's help our seniors who have helped protect our country.
Frank J. Duci, Largo