Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco officials move toward closing 'gun show loophole'

NEW PORT RICHEY — A divided Pasco County Commission voted Tuesday to move forward with a proposal to require a three-day waiting period and background checks for most firearm purchases at gun shows.

State law requires such regulations at retail gun shops but leaves the rules for gun shows up to the counties. Pasco could soon join a handful of other counties that have closed the so-called "gun show loophole" by imposing the waiting period and background check requirements for most gun sales on any "property open to public access." It would not apply to transactions in which the buyer has a concealed weapons permit.

"It's still hard for me to understand why it would create such a problem," said Commissioner Pat Mulieri. "If I were buying a gun, I wouldn't mind waiting three days and getting my background checked."

The proposed ordinance was not on Tuesday's agenda and was brought up during the public comment portion of the meeting. Commissioners voted 3-2 to bring the topic up for a future public hearing.

Joining Mulieri were Commissioners Kathryn Starkey and Ted Schrader. Commissioners Henry Wilson and Jack Mariano dissented.

GOP state committeeman Bill Bunting told commissioners that gun shows are regularly patrolled by state and federal law enforcement officers.

"Criminals are not going to where there's law enforcement," he said. "Would you go to a gun show if you knew FDLE was there and (federal firearm agents were) there?"

He added: "People have a legal right to sell their firearms. Every time someone gets their foot in the door, they want to take away another right in the Second Amendment."

The proposal has been pushed by the Pasco Democratic Party in the wake of last month's mass shooting in Sandy Hook, Conn., which has also prompted federal officials to look at increased gun control measures.

Pasco Democratic Party chairman Lynn Lindeman ticked off statistics of people with mental health problems or who are felons arrested for crimes with guns.

"This is not an abstract problem," he said. "It's a real and present danger. Allowing firearm purchases without background checks at gun shows places us all in greater danger."

But county GOP vice chairman Jim Mathieu raised a logistical concern: How do you institute a three-day waiting period for two-day gun shows?

"What is (the seller) going to do, mail it to me three days later?" he said.

Voters added a section to the Florida Constitution in 1998 allowing counties to decide whether to expand regulations at gun shows. Pinellas, Hillsborough and Hernando have all adopted such ordinances. After initially warming to the measure, a unanimous Pasco commission rejected the idea in 1999.

Schrader said he is open to further discussion about the idea, though his focus is curbing the availability of assault weapons.

"No one can legitimately explain to me why someone other than law enforcement or the military would need to have access to those weapons," he said.

Such regulation must come from the state or federal level. Counties in Florida are limited to requiring background checks for most gun sales and imposing waiting periods for handguns.

Starkey also voted to advance the idea, though she warned it wouldn't be a cure-all.

"To me it makes sense to not be selling guns to people with mental issues," Starkey said. "However, I don't think it stops a Sandy Hook or all those things we've been seeing."

Pasco officials move toward closing 'gun show loophole' 01/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick Friday night in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  2. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  4. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101