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Hillsborough assault weapons ban idea dies again in déjà vu discussion

Two weeks after a ban on assault weapons got little traction,  Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp raised the issue again Wednesday to similar results.
Two weeks after a ban on assault weapons got little traction, Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp raised the issue again Wednesday to similar results.
Published Mar. 21, 2018|Updated Mar. 21, 2018

It was only two weeks ago that the Republican-controlled Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners responded with a frosty silence when Democratic Commissioner Les Miller called for a local ban on the sale of  assault weapons prompted by  a school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

The proposal died for the lack of a second.

Two weeks later and, guess what? Nothing has changed.

The assault weapons debate was reignited Wednesday by Commissioner Pat Kemp, who missed the first vote through illness.

Miller tried to tell the commission's only other Democrat she was wasting her time.

"I learned a long time ago how to count votes," he said.  "You second the motion and it will go down."

Undeterred, Kemp made the motion herself, along with two others calling on the commission to send a letter to the Florida Constitution Revision  Commission urging it to put a ban on the November ballot, and to close a loophole that allows the sale of firearms at gun shows without background checks and waiting periods.

All three proposals failed 5-2 with all five of the board's Republicans voting against. The state prohibits municipalities from passing most firearms restrictions. Public officials who violate the law can be punished with a $5,000 fine and removal from office.

The county is moving ahead with a proposal to extend the waiting period for the purchase of  a handgun.

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