Hillsborough Commission votes to create gun violence task force after Newtown school shooting
Hillsborough County Commissioners agreed to create a gun violence task force Wednesday in response to the elementary school shooting last month in Newtown, Conn.
They stopped short of passing an annual gun buy back program, as Commissioner Kevin Beckner requested, with some board members suggesting such a move would have more symbolic than actual value. Some board members said such programs are best handled by law enforcement, and indeed the Sheriff's Office has a buy back date scheduled for next month.
Commissioners left open the possibility that the to-be-formed task force could see fit to recommend creating a more formal annual gun buy back program, in contrast to periodic purchases by law enforcement.
The task force will consist of law enforcement personnel, mental health and medical workers and representatives of community groups concerned with public safety. It would be tasked with coming up with suggestions for stemming all forms of gun violence, not just mass shootings. Several commissioners said particular attention should be given to mental health care.
"I don't come today to promote anti-gun legislation," Beckner said. "My intent...is to focus on gun violence as a public health and safety crisis."