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Council to Take Closer Look at Lobbying for Gun Control

Do you think St. Pete and the state of Florida should ban assault weapons? Close the gun show loophole?

Lobbyists representing the city of St. Petersburg could have a new agenda to lobby for in Tallahassee in 2013, gun control. 

Thursday, city council voted unanimously to further explore the possibility of having its lobbyist’s pressure state officials for stricter gun laws. 

“I think the two things for sure that need to happen, No. 1, an assault weapons ban,” said council member Steve Kornell in a December interview with Patch. “That and tightening up the laws that allow you to prosecute someone for purchasing a gun for someone that can’t buy one legally.”

Another key problem for Kornell, he told council Thursday, is the gun show loophole that allows for the purchase of guns at gun shows without first conducting background checks. 

While the motion passed unanimously to discuss the issue further in committee, council member Bill Dudley said new laws, such as an assault weapons ban would not help lower murder rates. 

"Detroit, Chicago, New York have very strict gun laws," Dudley said. "How’s that working for them? There’s some other problems that we need to address not just the gun laws."

Dudley said officials should concentrate on mental health issues, violent video games, Hollywood and enforcing laws that currently exist. He did say that he would support lobbyists advocating for closing the gun show loophole. 

Council member Charlie Gerdes said just because there is gun crime doesn't mean there should not be gun laws. 

"This argument about certain states have bans on assault weapons and the assault weapon ban isn’t effective," Gerdes said. "The logic of that is, well lets repeal laws against stealing cars because people steal (cars) every day.

"I don’t get it at all," Gerdes added. "The fact that people violate laws, is not a reason to not have the laws." 

Kornell, who is also a school social worker at Dixie Hollins High School, agreed with Dudley regarding funding for mental health. The percentage of mental health professionals to students in schools, Kornell said, is so low that it is easy for students to fall through the cracks. 

Some of the main people who say gun control is not the real issue and it is solely mental health, "then turn around and cut funding for schools," Kornell said.

Hall Palmer January 13, 2013 at 02:30 PM
There are reasonable arguments on both sides of this issue, and strongly held views on the best ways to deal with the problem of gun violence. However, I believe all those views will be expressed adequately by the individuals who hold them and that it is not a proper use of the City's limited resources to pay lobbyists to take sides on an issue on which is far from settled within the population the city government represents. The city has plenty of more immediate problems to deal with closer to home and we are already represented by other elected officials who are charged with dealing with statewide issues.
Tom Tito January 13, 2013 at 05:30 PM
It's about time city council showed some leadership. They should hold public hearings to put Pinellas legislators on the spot on this and other issues. I support background checks but I'm not sure what good an assault weapons ban would do. It's not likely to pass and other semiautomatic rifles are just as deadly. The city should also seek funding for a cash bounty for illegal guns. http://newsouthstpete.blogspot.com/2007/10/see-it-stop-it-and-say-it-get-illegal.html There is evidence of lead exposure harming children and contributing to crime. This needs to be addressed by the state. Clean ups should be paid for by companies that sold leaded gas. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline Mental health counselling also needs to be improved.
monica January 13, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Ban....pls. These weapons have no business being part of our day to day lives. Take a stand and at least take an initiative to consider a ban. What could be more important for a city council to consider, when it is so detrimental to our society as a whole. Thank-You,
Patriot January 14, 2013 at 01:29 AM
City government has no business in this issue....for that matter, neither does the FED. The Constitution is clear on this. Besides...statistically speaking, knives kill more people then guns, as do blunt objects....should we not outlaw baseball bats and fists first?
Gilbert Mike Henry January 14, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Our passionate insistence on blaming everything and everyone for what should fall under our own personal accountability has become epic and borders on sick comedy. Instead of finger pointing panic from our rooftops, why can't we calmly and logically resolve our perceived differences on any number of topics? Why is is necessary to always choose sides and start hurling insults and accusations? Why not conversational solutions? And when did spending 10 times more per student than any other country in the world on public education result in our thinking that to make anything better we need to spend 10x more than anyone else on the planet? And, do we really believe more costly public education will improve our overall "mental health?" The same thought process would also apply to our public healthcare expenditures compared to other countries. (near 10x more per person than any other country's healthcare) Yes, there are bad people and inefficient processes that can be blamed for things that go wrong in our culture, but the root of most of our bad behavior is simply and embarrassingly our lack of respect for the rule of law and those who enforce it. (per U.N. study in 2011 of homicide causes worldwide) Little or no respect for authority, and little or no personal accountability (our habit of always seeking to fix the blame instead of fixing the problem's causes) are areas that need much more immediate attention than what size or type gun or food or vehicle we buy.

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