Election Day has come and gone here in Lee County, and in addition to the Presidential Primaries that were held this past Tuesday, the Towns of Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs also held elections for their Council. In addition, FMB held a vote on a number of referendum.
A recent rebuttal by Brewster Bevis to my earlier commentary "Taxpayers continue to pick up the clean-up tab" concerning the 2016 Water bill signed into law by Gov. Scott, is fraught with self serving interest and does not even pass the straight face test.
In response to a proposed massive development on Fort Myers Beach, a group of local stakeholders have created an organization, including a Facebook page and website, to provide concerned citizens a forum for input regarding desirability or implementation of the project. The organization is called the Voice of FMB and the stakeholders include: Boykin Management, operators of the Pink Shell Resort; Diamondhead, a Sunstream property; Larry and Justin Yax, from Edison Beach House; Tim, Jeff, and Paul Malbon, from the Best Western Beach Resort; and Doug Speirn-Smith, from Matanzas on the Bay.
Legislators in West Virginia have spoken and gun owners in the “Wild and Wonderful” state will no longer need to get a permit to have a concealed weapon, putting it with eight other states that afford citizens the widest latitude in regards to gun rights. The House voted on the measure Friday, officially overriding the Governor’s veto on Saturday.
The law, supported by the National Rifle Association, does away with permit and training programs for people 21 and older who want to carry a concealed weapon. The measure was opposed by law enforcement agencies across the state.
“West Virginia’s law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe and helping us in times of need, and it’s disheartening that the members of the Legislature have chosen not to stand with these brave men and women – putting their safety and the safety of West Virginians at risk,” Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement released Saturday.
He said that by allowing such a broad law, anyone might have a concealed weapon making it more difficult for law enforcement officers to know if someone might be armed. He further said that by eliminating the former training requirement there will no longer be any reliable way to know how much training or expertise a gun carrier has with the weapon. The permitting process supplanted by the current legislation included a background check and a gun safety class.
But gun-rights advocates were quick to applaud the legislature’s move, which can be seen as part of a broader trend across the country towards allowing concealed carry.
“Self-defense is a fundamental right that must be respected,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Law-abiding West Virginians are now free to choose the method of self-defense that best suits their needs. The NRA and our five million members are pleased that the legislature voted in support of West Virginians’ Second Amendment freedoms.”
A 2013 study conducted by the Center for American Progress found “a significant correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and gun violence in the state.” The study suggests that in the 10 states with the widest latitude in open carry – characterized by the Center as “weak gun laws” - the level of gun violence that was more than twice as high as the 10 states where it considered gun laws were “strong.”
Currently, West Virginia’s rate for gun deaths is 12th highest in the nation.
This study was refuted by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey who said the new law would not put law enforcement at risk or increase gun deaths.
“As the chief legal officer of the state and the person in charge of criminal matters for the state at the WV Supreme Court and in federal courts, I know that this legislation will not impact public safety,” he said after the veto. “If this bill is enacted, we will not only expand freedom, but we will keep our citizens protected.”
Governor Tomblin vetoed a similar bill last year, but the legislature didn’t have time to vote on overriding it before the session ended.
West Virginia’s actions comes as gun rights are being expanded throughout the US. Many feel a well-armed populace is the best defense against both tyranny and terrorism.
“If someone who means me harm thinks I have the means to defend myself on the spot, without waiting for police who may arrive too late, they are far more likely to avoid attacking me or my loved ones than if they know I don’t have the means to defend myself,” said Bernard O’Neil, a West Virginian advocate for an armed citizenry.
“States where the government has taken away guns from the public are often the places where criminal elements are the strongest,” he added.
When the law takes effect May 26, West Virginia will become one of eight states that allow concealed carry without a permit. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming are the other constitutional carry states. In should be noted that in Wyoming, the law applies to residents only.
This coming week, Florida will be a prize for presidential hopefuls in this year’s hectic and unpredictable primaries, with both Democratic and Republican candidates looking to either solidify or salvage their bids for the White House this November. While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton maintain their leads in their respective primaries, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders are still hanging in the races and have won contests as recently as this past Saturday’s caucus battle. Florida is also home base for Senator Marco Rubio, and this primary could be his last stand if he comes in second or worse, having only picked up wins in Minnesota and Puerto Rico thus far.
Mark Henderson spent five years in the 82nd Airborne Division with its 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which executes parachute assaults and conducts combat operations worldwide. In 2010, he was deployed to Port Au Prince, Haiti, to help in the aftermath of the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake. But when he decided to return to the classroom, he was scared he wouldn’t be able to keep up with his classmates.
Henderson, however — now a government major in his junior year at Georgetown University — hit the ground running. He credits this in large part to the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP), a program launched in 2012 that offers academic boot camps for veterans seeking a higher education.
There were over 354 news media reports on Yahoo and Google last year that stated no known terrorists had been discovered amongst the migrants coming to Europe seeking asylum. This past week, an article appeared in the Dutch news that refutes those prior articles.
The Sun Bay Paper has provided continuing coverage of efforts to eradicate non-indigenous flora and fauna from Florida and this week’s report concludes a massive effort in the Everglades National Park and world designated biosphere to eliminate the Burmese Python. Snake hunters stalked the massive pythons capturing 106 of the predators in the state-sponsored "Python Challenge," reinstated after a one year hiatus. One of the huge constrictors measured a whopping 15 feet (4.6 meters), officials told the media on Saturday.
There has been a great deal of press recently concerning several of our local Mayors traveling to Washington DC to speak to our Congressional delegation and United States Army Corps of Engineers about the dirty water crises stemming from the excessive release of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee.
Guest Opinion: Grand Resorts Developer Defends Project
“The Town of Fort Myers is faced with an important election involving several big issues. After listening to a recent candidates’ debate forum, I felt compelled to write this letter. It is information I felt was very important for you to have and consider when evaluating and making your upcoming decisions pertaining to the downtown redevelopment topic. Grand Resorts is very close to being ready to make its Application to the Town; however, that may or may not occur before the election,” TPI Hospitality CEO Tom Torgerson wrote as a forward to this Guest Opinion.