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Opinion

Close the 'Gun Show' Loopholes

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Dr. Marc Yacht, who was director of the Pasco County Health Department until he retired in 2007, says that his county should do more to stop sales of guns without background checks and other safety measures:

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rates Florida 41 of 50 states addressing sensible gun regulation. Florida scores 3 of a possible 100 points with California rated number one scoring 81 points. Other significant data show Florida 49th in mental health funds, and 44th in money spent for public education (2009). Florida continues a shameful record when it comes to human services, education, and public safety.  It is interesting to note that based on per capita income, Florida ranks 50th relating to student education funding.

On March 19, Pasco County Commissioners will hear commentary on the closing of “Gun Show” loopholes.  Florida statute allows individual counties to establish gun show purchase rules.  Pinellas and Hillsborough counties have instituted such ordinances and they require background checks and three day waiting periods.  Other Florida counties have done so; Pasco should follow suit.

Along with background checks and waiting periods, the most effective ordinance would add a ban on assault weapons and limit magazine capacity.  It would institute harsh penalties for those who break the rules.  Closing loopholes does not infringe on anyone’s right to bear arms or move us closer to a police state.  However, it does allow improved public safety and reduces the possibility of a Newtown-like event occurring in Pasco County which currently has no restrictions for Gun Shows.

It is time to enforce current gun laws and close loopholes at Gun Shows.  Legitimate dealers must follow the rules so should any one attending or selling at a gun show.  More than 30,000 citizens will die this year due to firearms.  Without sensible gun regulation and vastly improved funding for Mental Health we will witness more Newtown-like tragedies.  Every reasonable effort must be made to prevent such tragedy in Pasco County.  Certainly, at the very least, a background check and waiting period for gun purchases