More guns won’t make us safer in Florida | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
Florida's GOP legislators will be debating a bill to allow permitless carry of concealed weapons.
Florida's GOP legislators will be debating a bill to allow permitless carry of concealed weapons. [ JOE BURBANK | Joe Burbank ]
Published Mar. 12

More guns don’t make us safer

Florida lawmakers need to answer important questions about permitless gun carry | Perspective, March 5

Online data on firearm mortality from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020 shows the age adjusted death rate in Florida as 13.7 deaths per 100,000. This is 3,041 killings, placing Florida as the 29th worst for firearm fatalities. Yet the proposed legislation to allow “permitless” concealed carry will not make Florida safer — in fact, it may worsen the situation. While the courts debate the U.S. “historical tradition of firearm regulation,” our children are facing death and trauma as witnesses to these killings at an early age. With around 20% of gun sales in a loophole, resulting in no background check, eliminating this requirement for concealed weapons is erroneous. The proposed bill also eliminates requirements for gun safety training and will allow guns in many public places. Most people need a license to fish in Florida — so why not to carry a dangerous weapon in public? We should stop the carnage with stronger gun laws and funding for research based programs to prevent gun violence. I don’t think it’s “constitutional” when carnage and blood shed is happening repeatedly. Is a $97 fee for the concealed weapon permit too much to ask for public safety? It’s up to us to contact our elected Florida representatives, senators and the governor to oppose HB 543 and SB 150.

Kathleen Walston Pagan, Gainesville

It’s a trail, not a racecourse

E-bikes are an environmental dream, except out in nature trails | March 8

My observation is that it’s people, not the e-bikes, that are the problem, not only on nature trails but especially on the Pinellas Trail. Ecological transportation and pleasure can be combined with reasoning. My e-bike has a governor I have set to a maximum 15 mph, less than a conventional bike can travel. Try biking the Pinellas Trail on the weekend and you will see the problem. Recklessness. And that goes for e-bikes, e-boards, skates and conventional racing bikes. It is a recreational trail folks, not a racetrack. It seems everyone is trying to outrace the other without regard for decorum or notice of approaching on the left. Rarely have I seen a trail rider make the obligatory stop at intersections. There should be signs warning people to slow down while approaching heavily congested downtown Dunedin. Many near misses seen. Time for law enforcement to step up vigilance.

John J. Tischner III, Dunedin

It’s called capitalism

Walgreens won’t sell abortion pills in some states | March 4

I have a suspicion that many readers who are hyper-critical of the Tampa Bay Times (a private company) for dropping Scott Adams’ “Dilbert” comic are thrilled at Walgreens’ (another private company) decision to no long offer the abortion drug mifepristone in 20 red states. Every day private companies choose which products or services they wish to offer. Do we really want our government telling private companies what product or services they should or should not offer? Not happy with a company’s decision? You are free to vote with your pocketbook. It’s called capitalism.

Linda Horrell, Madeira Beach

Open carry, just not near him

DeSantis favors open carry | March 4

So it comes as very little surprise to read that Gov. Ron DeSantis favors “open carry.” I wonder how he might feel about someone — anyone — employing “open carry” within the vicinity of his wife and children at the grocery store or at Sunday church services?

Ron Thuemler, Tampa

Issues that matter

‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’ | March 8

Once again, our legislators are focusing on the important stuff. Affordable housing? Skyrocketing car and homeowner’s insurance? Climate change? Nope. But, of course, they’ve got to make sure they hold those bloggers who write about government accountable. That’ll surely help Floridians in a huge way.

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Heather Kosinski, Largo

Find the middle ground

‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’ | March 8

I am a lifelong Republican who believes that all politicians should take note: Extreme liberalism cannot be fought with extreme conservatism or vice versa. Find the middle, common ground. That is how our U.S. Constitution meant it to be. We need statesmen and women, not bullies.

Earl Young, Zephyrhills

Hot under the collar

Do golf and T-shirts mix? | March 5

Should T-shirts be allowed on The Villages golf courses? What a burning question! But the timing is perfect as the Florida Legislature is in session. I’m sure Gov. Ron DeSantis would love to dictate his decision and may even get “hot under his collar.”

Joanne Moore, St. Petersburg