Letters to the Editor, March 3

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Legislation won’t make us safer

The Second Amendment calls for a 'well-regulated militia.' Florida’s current gun laws attempt to strike a balance between public safety and the right to bear arms. In the past 18 months, the Florida Department of Agriculture has denied over 42,000-gun permit applications because applicants were convicted of domestic violence, felony convictions, or other disqualifying crimes.

Studies show that weakening public carry laws are associated with a 13-15% increase in violent crime rates, as well as an 11% increase in rates of homicides committed with handguns. And states where permitless carry is legal, those states experienced a 22% increase in gun homicides for the three years after the law’s passage, more than doubling the 10% increase for the country overall. Florida already ranks as the 24th worst state in terms of gun death rate in the U.S., with one gun death every three hours. Allowing permitless carry will only take us farther toward the bottom of the list.

Individuals carrying guns openly in public can be alarming and intimidating for many people, especially children and vulnerable populations. It can create a climate of fear and tension, and lead to conflicts or misunderstandings between individuals. This is especially true in situations where tensions are already high. Openly carrying firearms in public can make it difficult for officers to identify potential threats and differentiate between law-abiding citizens and criminals.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of adults in the 25 states with permitless carry oppose these policies. Floridians need stronger, not weaker gun laws. We want to be safe in our homes, businesses, and communities. It is crucial that Florida’s legislators oppose passage of this law.

Jane Schlechtweg, Collier County Democratic Executive Committee chairwoman, Marco Island

Waterbody oxygen dropping

Prior to 2013, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) standard for healthy oxygen in waterways was a minimum of 5 mg/L as measured by Dissolved Oxygen (DO).

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) which is the amount of free oxygen dissolved in water is an essential component of the aquatic environment. The most important and commonly used measurement of water quality, it indicates a waterbody’s state of health -- that is, the ability to support aquatic life. A vast array of aquatic organisms depends on the presence of adequate levels of oxygen for survival. Generally, waters with DO concentrations of 5.0 mg/L or higher can support a well-balanced, healthy biological community.

In ocean and freshwater environments, the term 'hypoxia' refers to low or depleted oxygen in a water body. Hypoxia is often associated with the overgrowth of certain species of algae, which can lead to oxygen depletion when they die, sink to the bottom, and decompose. Some aquatic species cannot tolerate even slight oxygen depletion, and when oxygen falls below natural levels, the result is often complete alteration of the community structure.

Marco Island had healthy levels of oxygen in the waterways until 2019. Since then, oxygen has been dropping. If this trend continues, in one year the entire waterbody would be considered hypoxic.

Florida residents must add an amendment to the Florida constitution for a Right to Clean and Healthy Water (RTCW).

Sign the petition: floridarighttocleanwater. Org.

Eugene Wordehoff, Collier County captain, Right to Clean Water, Marco Island

Parks are for everyone

I'm a straight old guy. Nonetheless, I was highly distressed to read the complaints about the Pride Fest being held at Cambier Park. Under the guise of "believing in free speech," parents are fearful of what their children might "see."

So, the solution is to move it to a different park so somebody else's parents can deal with the issue. The fact is those parents probably just don't "like" gay or LGBTQ folks. If that's the case, be honest and just say so.

Further, parents who say that they don't want to have to check the park schedule -- don't. Turn around and go to a different park that day. Parks are for EVERYONE. If there is an event one day per year that bothers certain constituents – so be it. It's just one day out of 365.

Bill Strome, Naples

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