Time to close gun show loophole
The Pasco Democratic Party calls upon each of the Pasco County commissioners to introduce and pass legislation to end the "gun show loophole" in Pasco County that allows the purchase of assault rifles and other firearms without a background check of the purchaser.
This legislation does not take away the rights of gun ownership. It helps ensure the safety of our children and communities so that only those legally allowed to possess firearms do so. We do not want to bury our children because of an assault rifle or other firearm was purchased without a background check or waiting period in Pasco County.
In 1998, 72 percent of Pasco voters approved Amendment 12 to the state Constitution. This amendment authorizes each county to pass local option legislation that requires a criminal-history records check and waiting period of three to five days in connection with the sale of any firearms. It defines "sale" as the transfer of money or other consideration for a firearm, where any part of the transaction occurs on property open to public access. It does not apply to holders of concealed weapons permits when purchasing firearms.
This legislation has never been passed by the Pasco County Commission. We are asking that the commission take a step toward ending gun violence by passing the local option available under Article VIII Section 5 of the Florida Constitution.
Lynn W. Lindeman, Ph.D., Chairman, Pasco Democratic Party
Let's fix mental health system
I am very encouraged to see media outlets call attention to deficiencies in this nation's mental health system. Such focus should have broad support and prompt efforts for adequate consideration and action to address mental health service wants.
Sorely needed is the finding of common ground among gun control supporters, gun rights advocates, and mental health system proponents. Collectively, much could be accomplished to reduce the risk of Newtownlike tragedies should adversaries demand attention for adequate mental health treatment, hospitals and evaluation centers. There is no desire for the repetition of murderous tragedies whatever the person's gun control position.
The reestablished mental health team could make necessary decisions to keep identified dangerous individuals off the street and in appropriate treatment. Significant risk to the community could be substantially reduced. Local police and courts should be on board with such efforts that would allow improved options when dealing with obviously disturbed individuals. Necessary statute changes would be the responsibility of elected legislators. This action should be on a fast track.
There is an opportunity for all to stand together and demand from our political leadership direct action and funding to offer mental health services to anyone in need.
Can we find a common path and demand attention to a broken down mental health system? Florida remains number 48 among the states funding mental health services.
Dr. Marc Yacht, Hudson
Many hands gave toys to children
In December, Toys for Tots of East Pasco held five successful toy distributions throughout the east and middle parts of Pasco County. Overcoming a host of problems this holiday season, I am pleased to report more than 3,000 deserving children received toys, food, books, toothbrushes, socks and underwear.
Being hugely disappointed with the results of our annual Letter Carriers Toys Drive, we appealed, directly, to our caring community. Thanks to the coverage offered us by our media friends, toys and other forms of support poured in. And, as any good Christmas story must always end, our compassionate community would not let us fail.
With a huge tip of the hat to the Rotary Club's in east and central Pasco, and the Zephyrhills Lion's Club, our Skivvies for Tots effort was marvelously successful. Many service organizations stepped up and collected toys and cash. We wish to thank the Lions, Moose and Kiwanis club's for pitching in, which allowed us to purchase additional needed toys.
Thanks to our trusted partners, the Pasco Fair Grounds, the Bridge Way Church, the Pasco County Community Center in Land O' Lakes and the Zephyrhills Lions Club for cheerfully hosting toy distributions. We are blessed by the quality, experience and commitment of our local community captains, and their host of jolly elves, wearing shirts provided by Simply Health Care.
Our program was skillfully overseen, by Pastor Dave Raley, our co-coordinator. Thanks to him and to all the members of our community who answered our call for assistance. We could not have succeeded this year without your active support and helpful prayers.
Robert Loring, Zephyrhills
Food giveaway was a team effort
This year's annual Farm Share Holiday Food Giveaway was historic, providing food for 750 families, the largest number ever. Hams, fresh produce, canned goods, beverages and supermarket gift cards all helped make the Christmas season a little brighter for fellow members of our community.
The success of this year's food giveaway would not have been possible if not for the hard work and dedication of dozens of people representing many local and statewide organizations. It was humbling to see so many people come out to help their neighbors in need. The holiday season brings to light not only the extreme need in our area, but also the generosity of many people who stepped up to meet those needs.
I would like to thank my co-hosts Rep. Richard Corcoran and Sen. John Legg for their help. I would also like to recognize the many leaders in Pasco County who helped make this event possible. Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley, County Commissioner Henry Wilson and Sheriff Chris Nocco (as well as his command staff and the Pasco Sheriff's Explorers) all helped make the day a success. Additionally, 19 schools, businesses and non-profit agencies participated in providing food for those in need.
Rep. Mike Fasano, New Port Richey