Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa detective pushes stricter gun sentencing

TAMPA — Two officers fatally shot in Miami. Three in Tampa. Three more in St. Petersburg.

Tampa police union president Greg Stout was disgusted.

So a year ago, he took his concerns to his friend Rep. Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican.

Together, they worked on a bill that's sailing through the Florida Legislature. It increases the minimum sentence for a violent felon caught with a firearm from three to 10 years.

Three years, Stout said, "seemed a little bit skimpy."

Stout, a detective with the Tampa Police Department, hopes the increase will persuade those who have used guns during a crime not to try it again.

If it doesn't, at least these offenders will be off the streets for seven more years, he said.

"You'll be yanked away from society," Stout said. "We won't have to deal with you."

Stout and Boyd's initial purpose was to look out for law enforcement.

Many of the people accused of shooting Florida officers, they noticed, had previous felony convictions.

By law, they shouldn't have even had guns.

That includes both Hydra Lacy, who shot and killed two St. Petersburg police officers in 2011, and Dontae Morris, who's accused of killing two Tampa police officers in 2010.

"These officers were killed in the line of duty by what I'd consider thugs — felons with guns," Boyd said.

The bill would impact the Florida Department of Corrections' budget, so to save money, lawmakers added a requirement that the previous felony conviction must have included the use of a firearm.

On Wednesday, Stout watched the votes come in on the House floor. It passed unanimously.

Now it's in the Senate's budget and will likely be heard this week.

Though Stout regularly travels to Tallahassee on union matters, this was his first venture into bill-writing. It felt good to get the backing from lawmakers and state law enforcement groups, he said.

And though Boyd doesn't have a vote on the Senate's budget, because the bill has fared so well this far, he can't imagine it not passing.

"With the tragedies we've seen in the Tampa Bay area, hopefully this will be a sign that we're serious about taking a firm stand," he said, "and protecting those who protect us."

Times staff writers Jamal Thalji and Steve Bousquet contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Tampa detective pushes stricter gun sentencing 03/03/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 3, 2012 11:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.