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Yvonne “Yolie” Capin to offer formal support for Les Miller’s gun ban, but no further

Capin, Tampa City Council chairwoman, followed a similar path Friday to her counterpart across the bay, St. Petersburg City Council chairwoman Lisa Wheeler-Bowman. Both leaders initially said they'd introduce similar proposals as Miller plans to do next week at the Hillsborough County Commisision. They then backtracked, saying they didn't want to place their colleagues in an awkward spot.
Tampa City Council Chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin.
Tampa City Council Chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin.
Published Mar. 2, 2018

The two City Council leaders of Tampa Bay's largest cities agreed Friday that Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller is a brave man for planning to introduce local gun control legislation that could land him a hefty fine and pink slip from elected office.

Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne "Yolie" Capin and her counterpart Lisa Wheeler-Bowman also said Friday morning they'd follow Miller's example, introducing measures (or instructing city staff to prepare) municipal versions of Miller's county plan.

By lunchtime, however, both Capin and Wheeler-Bowman had thought better of the potentially career-ending move.

A 2011 state law allows local officials to be fined $5,000 and removed from office if they enact gun rules.

Like Wheeler-Bowman, Capin said her initial plan would have placed  the other six Tampa City Council members in a political pickle.

Capin said earlier Friday that she planned to instruct city attorneys to draw up an ordinance similar to Miller's idea to ban assault weapons among other restrictions.

"Let's try it and see what happens," said Capin, who has begun two recent council meetings with sharp criticism of federal and state inaction on guns following the Parkland mass shooting.

Shortly after, though, Capin recast her stance.

"I spoke with Les Miller and what I'm going to propose is a resolution of support. I thought about it and don't want to put my colleagues in a position where they have to (make) a choice of possibly being fined and taken out of office but we can support it," Capin wrote in a text.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bob Buckhorn is backing a plan by Coral Spring Mayor Skip Campbell to lead a drive to place a constitutional amendment before voters.

"At this point Mayor Buckhorn is reviewing the proposal by the mayor of Coral Springs and believes letting the voters choose is the right route," wrote Buckhorn spokesman Ashley Bauman in an email.

St. Petersburg Rick Kriseman's spokesman didn't return a phone call requesting comment.

So far, South Florida is leading the way on local push back against state preemption. Earlier this week, Coral Springs officials said they would pursue an assault weapon ban.