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.