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A schoolboy, a gun and the Second Amendment

Here’s what readers had to say in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
School buses [VICTORIN, FRED  |  Tampa Bay Times]
School buses [VICTORIN, FRED | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 28, 2019

Guns are not toys to bring to school

Boy, 8, brings loaded gun to Pasco school | Oct. 26

Thank goodness nothing tragic happened when an 8-year-old Pasco student brought a loaded handgun to school. The student was not a budding mass murderer, but simply a youngster with a need to show off to friends — very typical. Thankfully, before anything tragic happened, a fellow student notified a safety guard, the gun was confiscated, and the appropriate authorities notified. All well and good. Peril was averted and calm restored, but the potential for tragedy brings chills: a little rough play, some childhood hijinks or a dropped gun that accidentally fires, injuring or potentially killing a child. Chilling.

There’s a lesson here, and it’s that if Second Amendment rights mean anything, they must be paired with Second Amendment responsibilities. Near the top of the list of responsibilities is a parent’s duty to keep firearms safe from the curious children in their household. This is common-sense firearm safety, a responsibility with which even the most ardent Second Amendment advocates should agree. In this case, it means there should be a law that requires the safe and locked storage of all firearms in households with minors.

Unsupervised children accidentally killed or injured playing with firearms are not a major factor in gun statistics, but they are the most tragic — and avoidable. Pasco school officials dealt with this issue quickly and effectively, and they should be commended. But that does not give permission to ignore the issue of gun safety, especially when it involves the well-being of our most vulnerable. The NRA should live up to its commitment to firearm safety and get behind appropriate legislation. It’s a small step, but it’s one with the potential to bring the disparate sides of the gun issue together in common cause.

Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport

Even dumber than smoking

State is smart to investigate vaping | Editorial, Oct. 26

I have always held that nothing could be stupider than smoking cigarettes. I was wrong. I underestimated the cleverness of American corporate culture and the gullibility of the American consumer. But, in all fairness, who could have foreseen something as idiotic as vaping?

Pete Wilford, Holiday

Words that soothe and heal

Presidents speak of Cummings with respect | Oct. 26

Former president Barack Obama speaks during funeral services for Rep. Elijah Cummings, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in Baltimore. [CHIP SOMODEVILLA | AP]

I have just listened to President Barack Obama praising the life and deeds of the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the honorable congressman from Baltimore. For the first time in months, I felt hope for the country I love. I have not heard these words of peace, love, serenity and character since the last time I heard this former president speak. To all of the supporters of President Donald Trump out there, I am not condemning the present occupant of the White House, I am focusing on Obama’s words. President Trump’s words are so loaded with venom that we as a country must choose sides on issues that have little to do with who we are as a nation. Winning and losing today — and taking sides on which there can be no retreat — divide us. That led to T-shirts that say, “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.” I’m sure Democrats have similar statements of division. If you haven’t listened to President Obama’s eulogy, please do so, and listen to the words of love and cooperation.

Robert Clifford, Tarpon Springs


  1. Opponents of the SB 404, known as the "parental consent" bill, gather at a press conference at the Capitol in Tallahassee. The bill requires girls under the age of 18 get a parent's consent before having an abortion and was approved Wednesday in its final committee stop. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla) [AILEEN PERILLA  |  AP]
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  2. Then-House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, examines a printout of the $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government for the 2016 budget year and extend $650 billion in tax cuts.
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  3. This image provided by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a collection of lung scans of 20 monkeys who were exposed to tuberculosis after receiving different forms of a TB vaccine. [MARIO ROEDERER  |  AP]
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  4. Teachers and supporters march during the Florida Education Association's "Take on Tallahassee" rally at the Old Capitol in Tallahassee. [PHIL SEARS  |  AP]
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  5. Protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Tallahassee while a federal judge heard arguments for an against the the Legislature's bill implementing Amendment 4. [LAWRENCE MOWER  |  Lawrence Mower]
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  6. A patient receives a flu shot.
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  7. About 100 people gathered on Bayshore Boulevard in remembrance of George Gage, who was killed at Bayshore Boulevard and West Julia Street. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
    Here’s what readers are saying in Wednesday’s letters to the editor
  8. A shopper carries groceries in a plastic bag after shopping at the Silver Street Market in downtown Albuquerque, N.M. [ROBERTO E. ROSALES  |  AP]
    Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
  9. Thousands rallied and marched from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center to the Florida Historic Capitol to demand more money for public schools this month in Tallahassee. [TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER/TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT  |  AP]
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  10. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waves to members of the Florida Legislature during a joint session of lawmakers this week. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
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