Plans aim to gut gun rights | Jan. 24
Look for practical gun solutions
There is a way to expand the use of background checks that could capture the sale of many private guns and might actually be used. If an individual is selling a gun to an unknown person, he might be willing to do a background check if the process was easy and free.
First, don't set up a system that requires someone to go through a licensed gun dealer for a background check, because they will charge for that service. Either allow individuals to access the existing federal system themselves or create a duplicate system designed for private sellers.
The purpose of the check is to see if a person should be allowed to buy a gun. Once that is determined, there should be no need to generate any further red tape for the seller.
Karen and Craig Schuler, Hernando
Since Marion Hammer et al. have made it clear that the NRA will not even consider curbing the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity ammo clips, I suggest that those who feel it necessary to purchase such weapons and clips be obliged to obtain liability insurance to the tune of $10 million for each weapon. After all, we are required to show proof of car insurance for the automobiles we own.
Baerbel R. Dagon, Tampa
Panel rejects couple listing | Jan. 25
Cancer of intolerance
Last Monday, on the dual celebration of Inauguration Day and Martin Luther King's birthday, I wrote friends about how much I like the America I'm living in right now. We are diverse, culturally rich, increasingly humane.
I still feel that way. But in Hillsborough County, where I was born and have come back to live? Not so much.
On Thursday the Hillsborough County Commission rejected by a vote of 4-3 a simple proposal that has faced little to no opposition in other Central Florida jurisdictions. It was to establish a domestic partnership registry so that committed couples who are prevented from marriage — either by economic necessity or by law — can register at least the fact of their partnership, in order to be guaranteed a half-dozen or so basic human rights.
My home county has a cancer in it. It's the tiny minority of zealots who believe their personal religion justifies denying the equal benefit and protection of the law to people whose "lifestyles" they don't agree with. The vast majority of people who came to speak to the commission favored the proposal. But the four commissioners who created sham objections in order to justify their votes are still too in thrall to that narrow-minded minority who insist that their personal views must govern us all.
Jim Harper, Tampa
No one's business
What conceivable difference can it make to the registry opponents if unmarried seniors (a man and a woman) sign up to help their domestic partner in a crisis situation?
Al Higginbotham cites his religion as his reason for voting no, but religion has nothing to do with this issue. This is a freedom issue. And it is really none of his business about how I live or how I relate to people I live with.
Why should we have to spend hundreds of dollars to have a lawyer develop paperwork when we can use the registry for free?
These "no" voters are out of touch with reality and the people they represent.
Frank Carman, Sun City Center
Court: Recess appointments weren't legit Jan. 26
Wake-up call for president
How refreshing to see someone finally tug on the reins of our emperor in chief. Kudos to the U.S. Court of Appeals for reminding all of us (including the president) that the Constitution is not just a general reference tool but the law of the land.
I'm sure Barack Obama and his team are even now trying to figure out another end-around play to render this decision moot. After all, with the economy in the dumps, unemployment static and everyone paying a lot more for his health care act, he has to get back to the real issues of the day: immigration, gay marriage and global warming.
William Butler, Seminole
Shock jock trial takes a turn for the weirder Jan. 26
The trial of the dueling DJs has devolved into a mutually beneficial publicity event, giving the principals far more than the "15 minutes of fame" either deserve.
It would only be fair that the taxpayer cost of the proceedings be borne by one or both of the parties. Paying the expenses involved could cause "injured" parties to think twice before they go to court.
If "there is no such thing as bad publicity," the Times should consider billing the space given to this story as advertising.
William Patterson, Treasure Island
Entertainment, not news
Shame on the Times for putting the shock jocks' latest publicity stunt on the front page. This theatrical performance should have been covered in the entertainment section, if at all.
Charlie Morris, Treasure Island
Job Corps' future in doubt | Jan. 26
Heather Johnson's comment: "They can pay for my welfare and food stamps, or pay for my education."
This is a prime example of the mindset of a majority of people in America today. When did it become the "duty" of the government to provide everything to people? What became of the American dream of making a success without a nanny state providing your every wish? People need to wake up while there is still time to save America.
George Mann, Palm Harbor
Teaching Congress diplomacy and facts Jan. 25, commentary
Lessons in deception
I was disgusted to read Connie Schultz's article about Hillary Clinton's performance during testimony at a congressional hearing last week. Schultz wants every young girl in America to watch and learn how it's done. Clinton has learned well from her husband, the master of deception and doublespeak ("It depends on what the meaning of is, is").
Instead of telling the truth, speaking plainly and admitting responsibility, Hillary Clinton circumvents legitimate questions and deflects responsibility onto persons under her command. What lesson is to be learned here? Does Schultz thinks that self-preservation and arrogance are to be preferred over truth, decency and humility? Four brave Americans are dead, and the American people deserve to know Clinton's role in this failure.
Anne Lewis, Sun City Center