ST. PETERSBURG — For the last several years, only two officials in the Tampa Bay area had joined the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
On Thursday, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman gave them some company.
Kriseman signed the group's "statement of principles" in front of TV cameras, reporters and community organization leaders during a short ceremony at his office. The group seeks to punish those who deal in illegal guns, hold people who knowingly sell to straw buyers accountable, keep military-style weapons off the streets and support law enforcement efforts to do so.
"I am proud to do this today," Kriseman said. "Gun violence is no longer tolerated here in St. Pete."
Kriseman said he signed the proclamation to send a message to residents and people with illegal guns. He acknowledged the measure is largely symbolic, but called it an important measure to show from the top of city government.
"Engaging in gun violence is not acceptable," he said. "It will not be tolerated."
For a while, Largo Mayor Patricia Gerard was the only local mayor who'd joined the group. Last week, Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson signed as well. Henderson attended the Kriseman signing ceremony Thursday.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and former St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster never joined the group. Both said they support its ideas but didn't want to be tied to its agenda.
Lisa Wheeler Brown, president of the Council of Neighborhood Associations, said Kriseman's action was a step in the right direction.
Kriseman said he and interim police Chief David DeKay are discussing ways to get more illegal guns off the streets through amnesty or buyback programs. Kriseman noted that police confiscate about one gun per day in the city.
Times staff writer Mark Puente contributed to this report.