Clear path to safer streets | May 15 editorial
Ban gun shows, assault weapons
Regarding your editorial concerning guns and a safer society, we can't disagree with any content. However we believe you fell short of total solutions of controlling gun shows and banning assault weapons.
We advocate a total ban on gun shows — why are they necessary? There are a sufficient number of licensed gun dealers to satisfy those truly in need of a weapon. Second, why does anyone really need an assault weapon? (Why did Evan Longoria feel the need to acquire an AK-47? What message does this convey to our young boys as a role model?) Banning assault weapons should be a no-brainer.
Why would the Founding Fathers have written the two phrases, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," [and] "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" into the same Second Amendment if they were not intended to be considered together?
We in the 21st century should be entitled to live our lives civilly. We are not living in the wild west of the 1800s or the Roaring '20s of the gangster era.
Kay and Glenn Paul, Indian Rocks Beach
Clear path to safer streets | May 15 editorial
Gun shows not the problem
Your editorial on gun control was ill informed to say the least. In the first place, the Brady lobby is just a lobby like the National Rifle Association. Please check on the comparative number of members of both organizations before you cast aspersions based on some sort of progun political conspiracy theory. The plain fact is that gun owners are just better organized.
Moreover, the Brady organization, while a legitimate lobby, is not a public safety, medical or police organization, not to mention its woeful ignorance about guns in general.
The idea of limiting magazine size to minimize mass shootings is like advocating dropping the speed limit from 65 to 64 to limit car crashes. Moreover, you will never eliminate the black market for anything.
What is the point in clamping down on gun shows when criminals can go to any back alley and get an illegal gun? Nevertheless, giving private sellers access to the instant check system is not a bad idea, in and of itself.
Leonard Martino, Tampa
Check gun buyers
It is a pleasure to see the Times focus on one group that seems to be ignored when the issue of guns is debated: law-abiding victims of gun violence, whether it be law enforcement officers or your typical citizen who end up taking a bullet from a gun criminal.
One can attend gun shows, and if you are a felon attempting to buy a few handguns, you may do so without a criminal background check that uses the Justice Department's database. So you simply put the money on table and walk out — similar to buying a quart of milk at a convenience store. I've attended these gun shows in Polk and Pasco and witnessed this transaction on a few occasions. Clearly, if we want to do a better job of keeping firearms away from prohibited people, we can start by making it mandatory that all gun sales require a criminal background of the buyer.
Once again, these thugs that shot and killed our police officers had unfettered access to a firearm as no background check is required for a private (no questions asked) sale.
Thomas Burke, Clearwater
It's not so easy to buy a gun
It is a tragedy when a law enforcement officer is killed. It is also a tragedy when an ordinary citizen is killed. If armed officers are being killed, what chance does the ordinary citizen have? Unless one has a concealed weapons permit, I would say his chances are slim.
As far as so-called assault weapons are concerned, they are used in less than 2 percent of all violent crimes, from every report that I have read. Mexican cartels have been caught with enormous supplies of grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns — none of which can be purchased over the counter as far as I know. So why would cartels bother to purchase small arms in the USA and try to smuggle them across the border?
As far as lax gun controls are concerned, have you tried to purchase a firearm lately? It's not as easy as it sounds. One final word. If it wasn't for the gun lobbies, there wouldn't be any Second Amendment to protect our gun rights.
Robert Simister, Seminole
The public deserves better
I am disappointed that the St. Petersburg Times would publish such a badly flawed essay as your premier thoughts on your highest circulation day. While I agree with the first half of the editorial, I am surprised by the total logic disconnect in the second half of the essay. No one would argue that violence in our society, including that against public servants that provide security, is at unacceptable levels. Law enforcement officers are volunteers of the paramilitary forces that try to impose a civil environment we citizens desire. Their job is difficult and risky. We all should thank them for their service.
Not including the large-scale ambush of an American officer in Mexico, there are no documented law enforcement deaths involving "assault" weapons nor high-capacity magazines. So did the Brady folks lie to you or are you promoting a gun control agenda with lies?
This is a serious problem that deserves sincere and focused discussion of facts and possible solutions. Both the gun control camp and the gun rights camp have extremist that are more than willing to use hyperbole and outright lies to promote their agendas. We deserve better from our politicians and the news media.
David Halprin, St. Petersburg
Raising debt ceiling
Not a good move
The whole issue of the national debt ceiling is so complex that the average individual cannot grasp it. The numbers under discussion have so many zeros that it boggles the mind.
On a daily basis we are bombarded by political spin and accounting "magic."
Yet, there is one fact that we can deal with — for every dollar it spends, the federal government must borrow forty cents.
Now there is something the average person can get his or her mind around and clear, incontrovertible evidence that simply raising the debt ceiling without serious (some would say draconian) spending cuts is a bad, bad idea.
Ray Kelly, Spring Hill