Higginbotham holds fundraiser at gun shop
Hillsborough County commissioner Al Higginbotham held one of his first major fundraisers Tuesday evening as he seeks to jump to an at-large seat in 2014. Higginbotham, a Republican who must leave his current District 4 seat representing largely eastern Hillsborough, held the fundraiser, or the fundraiser was held for him, at Shooters World in northern Hillsborough.
Shooters World is the gun shop and range opened last month on N Dale Mabry Highway by developer Bing Kearney, opthalmologist Greg Henderson (fiance to Attorney General Pam Bondi) and others.
Higginbotham, once an active hunter, said he was not making any sort of gun rights statement as the nation debates gun control proposals. It was just an available venue. And he said the main organizer for the event was actually engineer and planning commissioner Hung Mai, not the owners.
If he was making a statement with the selection of the venue it was in support of small businesses. He noted that shortly after Shooters World opened, he sent out a tweet in praise of the venture for creating 65 new jobs without a government subsidy (in contrast to, say, Bass Pro Shops).
"It's not a statement about guns and gun safety," Higginbotham said. "It's about local business people who, in this tough economy, opened up this gun range and shop."
If there is any statement to be made about guns, Higginbotham said it is important that if people buy a firearm they should learn how to use it properly. The gun range at Shooters World helps people do that, he said.
Higginbotham thus far is the only Republican in the race for District 7, the seat Mark Sharpe must leave in 2014 due to term limits. Democrats April Griffin, a school board member, and Mary Mulhern, a Tampa City Council member, also are campaigning for the seat.