Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg City Council rejects symbolic measures to address gun violence

ST. PETERSBURG — When it comes to discussing ways to make it harder for criminals to use guns on city streets, Mayor Bill Foster is out to lunch.

Literally.

At least that was the case Thursday when the City Council considered symbolic actions to promote a ban on assault weapons and support for a national coalition against gun violence. And although much of the debate hinged on Foster's reluctance to join an initiative promoting stricter gun control, the mayor skipped the meeting to lunch with his wife, council member Karl Nurse said.

"I would have preferred that he would have been there," said Nurse, who had asked the council to urge Foster to sign onto the Mayors Against Illegal Guns initiative, founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

After a spirited debate, the council ultimately rejected Nurse's request, along with another gun-related proposal from Steve Kornell, who wanted the council to advocate state and federal governments to renew the ban on assault weapons.

Nurse also requested the city undertake a regional campaign to encourage locals to record their guns' serial numbers to better track theft.

Police Chief Chuck Harmon said earlier in the meeting that St. Petersburg police retrieve "a little over a gun a day" in illegal weapons, but said it's impossible to track whether a gun has been stolen if its owner doesn't have the serial number.

Harmon added that he supports a ban on assault weapons, and also that he met with representatives from Bloomberg's group when they visited in April.

Council member Bill Dudley — who along with Herb Polson, Jeff Danner and Leslie Curran voted against both measures — said it's not the council's job to tell the mayor what to do.

Foster, for his part, said in an interview Wednesday night that he's "all for legal possession of guns under the Second Amendment" — he owns several himself. But he said he was reluctant to join Bloomberg's group because it's only "stating the obvious" and won't have enough of an effect on the Florida Legislature.

Instead, Foster said he'll meet with Harmon to discuss ways to encourage gun owners to secure their weapons and speak to lawmakers about increasing penalties for those who don't.

As far as a ban on assault weapons, Foster said people should have a right to own them.

Kornell said his proposal was "a starting point" to decreasing the amount of guns on the street.

Danner disagreed, calling the measure "ineffective" and saying the city shouldn't try to ban specific guns.

Kornell — who was supported by council Chairman Jim Kennedy, Wengay Newton and Nurse — maintained that the council needs to do something to address gun violence in the city.

"The chief said it's a good policy and a good law," he said. "To bow to political pressure is something I'm not going to do."

Times staff writers Michael Van Sickler and Jamal Thalji contributed to this story.

St. Petersburg City Council rejects symbolic measures to address gun violence 06/02/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 2, 2011 9:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  3. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  4. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile

    World

    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.
  5. Rays blow lead, rally, blow lead, rally again to beat Twins in 15 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 28: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 28, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010990