This gun owner

supports reform

My father is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. My aunt shoots regularly at the Atlantic County Firearms Training Facility. I keep and can use a gun for home protection.

The NRA's response to recent mass shootings and gun deaths has stunned me. Change is not needed simply because of Sandy Hook. It is needed because of Sandy Hook and Aurora and Columbine and Tucson and on and on.

There is no legitimate reason for a civilian to have a semiautomatic weapon or high-capacity magazines. If honest citizens own them, they are easier for criminals and the mentally ill to obtain. They endanger our law enforcement officers, who will soon need to respond to every traffic stop in full SWAT mode.

The need to limit assault weapons does not mean pistols and hunting rifles are next. This is not an all-or-none proposition. And if you need the thrill of rapid firing, join the Army and do something useful with your excess testosterone.

The NRA's recent ad bringing the president's children into this discussion is despicable. I will now be a gun-control advocate and hope many more will join me. I ask our leaders to ban semiautomatic weapons, high-capacity magazines, private and gun show sales without background checks and to enact much stronger sentences for straw buyers who purchase guns for others.

The Americans for Responsible Solutions political action committee will advocate for us even if our Congress members will not.

TERRY DAILEY

Mays Landing

Payroll tax increase

slams middle class

President Barack Obama raising taxes on the wealthy - that's a joke. The working people also got a big tax increase in their paychecks when the Social Security payroll tax holiday expired. The middle class is getting hammered again.

The government is doing too much spending and is not taking in enough money. I just can't wait until the next congressional election. The whole country may decide not to vote. This will be a worse storm than Sandy.

LEONARD CORBO

Somers Point

Buena Vista officials

decimated government

During the annual Buena Vista Township reorganization meeting, Mayor Sue Barber, Deputy Mayor Richard Harlan and Committeeman Peter Bylone delivered a flurry of blows that took down the Planning/Zoning Board, township engineer, township solicitor, township auditors and a substantial number of community volunteers.

The recently re-elected team of Chuck Chiarello and Teresa Kelly were virtually eliminated from the decision-making process, systematically removed from duties that were typically shared by all members of Township Committee.

Dave Scheidegg, who operates a small engineering firm in Mays Landing, has been replaced by the "power house" corporation of Remington & Vernick, which has offices in three states, has 300 employees and reports revenues of $32 million while making political contributions of $600,000 from 2003 to 2012. No overkill here.

The dismantling of the Planning/ Zoning Board is likely the single most damaging act the trio could have committed. This board represents the economic health, growth and development of a community held in gridlock by the Pinelands Commission and a handful of extreme environmentalists.

Let's examine the damage to that board: Committeewoman Kelly with 18 years of Service, Kathi Babel with nine years of service, John Armato, Jennifer Klotz and John Williams each with two years of service as alternates, all thrown under the bus.

Another surprise was the appointment - or should I say reappointment - of Joseph Gindhart as township solicitor.

Barber, Harlan and Bylone have turned government upside down while preaching professionalism, transparency and efficiency. Shredding government from top to bottom is irresponsible and borders on amateurism. Discarding years of experience is reckless and sings of incompetence. When "transparency" is used in the public arena, phrases like "works well in the back rooms" is never forgotten or misunderstood by voters.

STEVE MARTINELLI SR.

Buena Vista Township

Cut welfare abuse,

•ot Social Security

As President Barack Obama and members of Congress fervently attack the deficit without any bipartisanship whatsoever, the question arises: What are the entitlements that Democrats are adamantly opposed to cutting?

Food stamps, the Women, Infants and Children program and welfare are not entitlements. They are handouts funded by American taxpayers.

Social Security and veterans' benefits are entitlements because the people receiving them are entitled to them. They were earned and paid for by the recipients.

America is great because of the safety net available to us during hard times. But safeguarding this much-abused safety net while threatening the solvency of the Social Security check that I have paid into for my entire life is not only unfair, but downright blockheaded.

I'm willing to bet my entire Social Security income that there is some government waste and misdirected spending that might be a fine place to cut the budget. These people we elect are way too generous in giving away our money to make themselves appear magnanimous and unselfish.

BOB WILLMAN

Atlantic City

Raising debt ceiling

is a responsible act

Raising the debt ceiling is nothing more than agreeing to pay debt that has already been incurred plus the interest accumulating on that debt.

Fact: It was raised seven times under George W. Bush, four times under Bill Clinton, four times under George H.R. Bush and 18 times under Ronald Reagan.

Not raising the ceiling is an act of default. Raising the ceiling is the responsible action to take.

The debt ceiling and spending cuts are mutually exclusive. Congress should be promoting Simpson-Bowles, and folks need to get their facts straight.

JIM LEO

Avalon