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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

St. Pete to start thinking outside box on gun violence



Reeling from a surge of murders at year's end, St. Petersburg officials say they are willing to explore a variety of options to bring the violence under control.

Mayor Rick Kriseman is studying a multitude of possibilities, according to aides. Council member Karl Nurse is meeting with Police Chief Tony Holloway next week to discuss curfews for minors, among other ideas.

City Attorney Jackie Kovilaritch is also willing to think outside the box. A recent move by Seattle municipal authorities to tax sales of guns and ammunitiion won't work in Florida, she said. State law explicity prohibits local governments from taxing firearms.

But imposing a fee on guns or ammo tied to a specific service might work, she said. The fee would have to be legitimate, perhaps funding gun education or some sort of research and prevention programs, she said. 

"It couldn't be a tax disguised as a fee," she said. "I expect we'll be looking into this more in the near future."

Kovilaritch hasn't talked to Kriseman yet about fee options, but she said she knows the mayor has an interest in doing something about the shootings that have left seven young men dead since Nov. 10.

"They're going to be thinking outside the box. We're going to be doing the same," Kovilaritch said. "We're not going to assume something is preempted."


[Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2015 10:28am]


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