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Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri Declines 'Shootout' with Democrat Scott Swope



It’s been a long time since it was common for a county sheriff to settle a dispute by reaching for his revolver.

But Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was treated to a blast from the past this week, when Democrat Scott Swope invited him to a shootout of sorts of sorts later this month.

They wouldn’t be aiming for each other, of course.

Swope, a lawyer from Palm Harbor, challenged Gualtieri during a radio debate Wednesday to what he called a “friendly shooting competition” at the Wyoming Antelope Club shooting range in Clearwater on Sept. 23. Swope later sent out a press release formalizing the invitation to this marksmanship contest, which he said would take place at “high noon.”

Gualtieri, a Republican, was not amused, telling the Tampa Bay Times that he has better things to do.

“To have some sort of a shootout with an opponent is a little ridiculous,” Gualtieri said. “I work seven days a week. I don’t really have time for that type of sporting event, if that’s what he wants to call it.”

Swope’s invitation wasn’t a pure exercise of good will. An expert marksman and avid hunter who has a concealed-weapon permit, Swope participated in shooting competitions as a teenager, and is advertising his broad support for gun rights in his campaign.

Unfortunately, when high noon strikes on Sept. 23, it looks like he’ll be pulling iron alone.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 6, 2012 4:38pm]


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