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Legislation crucial for gun owners, law enforcement

Published March 2, 2004

Editor: The NRA-backed bills regarding the protection of shooting ranges and illegal gun registration by police and government agencies are important.

It is in the public interest for law-abiding firearm owners to have a place to shoot and practice gun safety, and bill HB149/SB1156 provides a good balance of environmental protection in preventing overzealous governmental agencies from forcefully taking ranges and bankrupting their owners. If we allow our gun ranges to be arbitrarily shut down, there will be no place for law-biding citizens to learn and/or maintain their shooting and safety skills.

Our Second Amendment and state Constitutional right to keep and bear arms will be seriously infringed.

Bill HB155/SB1152 is designed to prevent government agencies from compiling databases that include arbitrary lists of law-abiding gun owners who have committed no crime, and that amounts to illegal gun registration. Federal law (Firearms Owners Protection Act) prohibits the establishment of "any system of registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions or dispositions."

The bill exempts lists and records of firearms that are necessary for legitimate law enforcement and criminal investigations and cases involving gun crimes.

These two bills are pro-law enforcement, pro-public safety, pro-environment, pro-pollution control, pro-Second Amendment, pro-federal and state Constitution and law, and pro-freedom from undue governmental interference and procedures.

Urge your representatives to pass these important bills for Gov. Bush's signature.

-- Lee Hanson, Hudson

Candidate sticks to principles: "I am forever a Democrat'

Re: Democratic candidate flip-flops, Feb. 27 letter

Editor: In reference to my voter registration record, I moved to Pasco County in 1995 and registered as an Independent, which had been my choice since 1992. Before that I had been registered since 1976 as a Democrat. I have no recollection as to why I was registered as unaffiliated but suspect that it had something to do with Division of Elections procedures with which I was unfamiliar at the time. I am forever and always have been a Democrat based on principles, not pure ideology.

In 2000, not having any other tools with which to fight the Bush campaign tactics employed by Bush operatives to misrepresent Sen. John McCain, I registered as a Republican specifically to vote against Bush in the primary, which turned out to be futile. I then worked for the Gore campaign on Columbus Avenue in Tampa, performing typical campaign tasks such as making phone calls, placing campaign signs, etc. - shaking the hands of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and have pictures to prove it. So when I say that I am forever a Democrat, this is personal!

Over the course of 1994 through 2001, I was engaged in acting as my own general contractor in the construction of my personal residence in Dade City as well as earning a second master's degree at the University of South Florida, in addition to working as a critical-care registered nurse.

I hope that helps answer any further questions the letter writer may have.

-- John Russell, Dade City

Medical society supports Penny for Pasco initiative

Editor: The Pasco County Medical Society supports the Penny for Pasco initiative.

The county has justified how these needed dollars will be used for road improvements and other necessary infrastructure. Pasco County Schools have successfully defended their needs for the additional resources that could be made available with the success of the Penny tax initiative.

We are encouraging all Pasco physicians to support the Penny tax.

-- Petro Jones, executive director, Pasco County Medical Society

Addressing deeper issues of race more important than flag dispute

Editor: While it is nice to hear about a student like Richard Ward of Hudson High, I think it is a shame what the media have turned the Hudson Confederate flag incident into.

Your newspaper continues to focus on the problem at the school and others in the community, but what are they doing about it? What solutions have been brought to the table? What is the community doing to deal with this issue? Is the area of Hudson doing anything?

In this situation, we should be more concerned about the deeper issues here than the flag. Instead of doting on the problem, shouldn't we as a community be working on the deep-rooted prejudice that is obviously still alive in all of America?

As a high school student who promotes equality on a regular basis, I am appalled to see your newspaper labeling students interviewed by the color of their skin. We are in the 21st century for goodness sake, and one would think that we, as a society, have gotten past the color barrier.

The four students hanging the Confederate flag were doing what in their eyes was probably a harmless prank. They presented themselves as insensitive and immature teenagers, which reflects badly on their school, community and, most of all, their parents. More disturbing than just this issue in Hudson is other instances of blatant racism throughout the county in recent times. It is obvious, as a community, that we need to take action against the racial prejudice that still exists here.

-- Lauren Sommer, Wesley Chapel

County should provide bins to encourage recycling

Editor: I live in a subdivision of 240 homes. In my daily walks, I have counted only two homes with blue recycling bags. Why can't the county purchase recycling bins, as a majority of other communities do, to encourage recycling?

If I have to purchase special blue bags to recycle my disposals, I object to it and discard my recyclables in the garbage cans. I won't spend my money for someone else's profitmaking, unless it is to be used for a worthwhile purpose.

-- Vince Lombardi, Port Richey [Last modified March 2, 2004, 01:44:59]

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