No slippery slope The arguments against background checks for gun purchases are mostly reactions caused by the sensational aspects of the Sandy Hook killings and other mass-murder crimes. Those feelings do not get at the broader issue of gun violence, including hundreds of daily single-victim murders, suicides and not-fatal shootings. Those who suggest that we focus only on keeping guns away from the mentally ill, most of whom are not violent, are missing the real target: looking at those convicted of violent misdemeanors, including assaults, and those who are alcohol abusers. The claims that background checks are a slippery slope toward gun confiscation and more big government are flimsy assertions. Background checks do not regulate what kind of firearms or ammunition you can buy. They just keep guns out of the hands of those should not have them. The majority of our fellow citizens, including gun owners, here and across America support background checks. Please do so as well. Calvin Branche
No legal pot In light of the proposed legislation that would legalize marijuana in Florida, it has become important to highlight some of the mistruths from the pro-legalization movement. It is marketing marijuana as a medicinal tool and downplaying the serious negative consequences. In fact, only 7 percent of the people who claim to use marijuana for medicinal purposes have a documented life-threatening illness. States that have mistakenly legalized a marijuana program have seen significant unexpected consequences. For example, because 6,600 companies nationwide require pre-employment drug testing, marijuana abuse among youth has rendered the 6.6 percent of high school seniors who smoke marijuana daily virtually unemployable. From an environmental perspective, marijuana grow sites have had a very negative impact on water and soil. Florida should consider the lessons learned by other states and keep our communities healthier by not legalizing marijuana. Shelah Neece
The writer is Project Coordinator for the Prescription Drug Project of the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, Pasco County.