Much has been made by House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa, R-Calif., issuing contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder regarding Fast and Furious. Although it is a fact that the operation was a failure, with the loss of 2,000 guns and the tragic death of a border agent, I think some perspective is in order.

First, because of weak gun laws in the U.S., from 2007 to 2011, 68,000 guns involved in crimes in Mexico were traced back to the more than 8,000 gun shops on the United States side of the Mexican/U.S. border.

Second, while bulk sales of handguns trigger a report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, bulk sales of semi-automatic rifles do not. This is because House Republicans have twice voted to block a previous regulatory requirement to immediately report the bulk sales of these weapons to the ATF.

Now I ask you, what law-abiding citizen buys semi-automatic military style weapons in bulk?

So, yes, Fast and Furious was a total failure. However, it involved just 3 percent of the guns moving from the U.S. to Mexico over a period of four years, and it was devised by an agency that is literally fighting with one hand tied behind its back. (While the rifle reporting rule was in place, the ATF opened more than 120 criminal investigations in less than a year.)

So maybe the more than 7,000 pages of correspondence already given to Rep. Issa aren’t enough to satisfy his investigation, but let’s not give in to emotion over facts, particularly since the same Rep. Issa votes to gut state laws regarding the carrying of concealed weapons by less-than-stellar individuals including drug dealers (HR 822). So who is really serious about public safety?

Ann Marie Briggs

Kennebunkport

Woods’ good ideas merit consideration by voters

Never heard of Steve Woods? He’s the founder of five small, successful businesses in Maine who is running for U.S. Senate as an independent.

Woods’ platform focuses on jobs/economic growth, access to health care, national debt reduction, fair taxes and education/career development.

I attended his recent campaign launch to learn more about this person who is willing to spend his own time and money fighting a steep uphill battle against the anointed independent frontrunner.

Woods believes that American democracy is broken due to the corrupting influence of lobbyists and politicians’ shameful failure to put country before money, as well as citizens’ failure to engage in the democratic process.

He has pledged not to take any money from outside political parties and he has some great ideas about having our high school seniors spend their last week of school involved in local government.

He has invited Angus King to make a gentleman’s agreement that if either candidate is more than 8 percent behind in the polls in the week before the election, the weaker candidate will step aside to avoid the catastrophic outcome that befell Maine’s gubernatorial election two years ago when Libby Mitchell and Eliot Cutler split the vote, allowing Paul LePage to take office with 39 percent of the vote.

It is the civic duty of all Mainers to learn about our U.S. Senate candidates such that we can make an informed decision about who will best represent our interests.

If you have not had a chance to do so, I recommend visiting www.stevewoods2012.com to find out where he stands on the issues and decide for yourself if he deserves your vote.

Phil Coupe

Cape Elizabeth

King made jobs a priority when he was governor

One of former Gov. Angus King’s many accomplishments was being a partner in supporting the private sector in creating jobs in Maine.

At the time Angus King was our governor, I was the manager at the Verizon Call Center in Portland. I had the honor and the privilege of helping to create more than 100 jobs in Portland. This was a huge undertaking for Verizon and one that deserved recognition.

We reached out to the governor’s office, hoping that maybe he could join us for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newly created center and to address the Verizon employees.

It was not an election year, he wasn’t looking for our vote and he asked nothing of us. He accepted our invitation because he was sincere when he said he made it his priority to encourage job creation in our state, and he wanted to share in our excitement.

Gov. King’s visit to the call center put Maine on the Verizon map that day. To date, I do not believe any other governor in the Verizon footprint has ever attended a Verizon ribbon-cutting ceremony. But then, there is only one Angus King. Aren’t we lucky to have him here in Maine, asking us to let him be our voice in Washington?

He is a man for the people, and his views on issues reflect those of many of us. He has stated over and over again that as an independent candidate, “Only the people of Maine will tell me how to vote.” We are fortunate to have Angus King on the ballot for U.S. Senate.

Paula E. Armstrong

former director, Verizon Business Sales and Service Centers

Scarborough

Proposal for welfare cards would hurt small businesses

Re: “N.H. lawmaker urges tighter welfare restrictions” (July 7):

If the restrictions mentioned in this story were formally proposed and enacted in New Hampshire, each store would be required to have a debit machine that could utilize the EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card.

This proposal would adversely affect the mom and pop stores that often serve low-income families in areas that don’t have large supermarkets.

Can we realistically expect that each landlord, each bus, each child care provider, each baby sitter (while you keep your job search, welfare or health appointment), each coal or firewood company and each health care provider will have debit card machines?

It simply won’t work. Let’s avoid unreasonable restrictions.

While it can be quite clearly unhealthy for anyone to use their funds, regardless of source, to buy cigarettes, chips, beer or sugary desserts, we Americans employ teaching rather than mandated regulation to impose healthier living.

Anne Vaughan and Niles Schore

Berwick