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State attorney candidate Andrew Warren pledges to crack down on domestic violence abusers

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Andrew Warren is pledging to combat domestic violence by prioritizing the enforcement of laws preventing domestic abusers from possessing firearms.

“Nobody who’s been convicted of domestic violence should own a firearm,” Warren said earlier this week. “We need to do a better job to protect victims.  This is about saving lives.”

The Tampa Democrat is seeking to end the 16-year control of the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s office by Mark Ober, who was elected to the position in 2000 and has never looked back. He’s issued a series of policy positions on what he would do in the state attorney’s office if he was to defeat Ober this fall.

Warren says that domestic violence homicides nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015, and that the domestic violence crime rate went up in Hillsborough County while declining statewide. “The increase in domestic violence in our community is tragic and unacceptable,” Warren said.  “This is about priorities. We need to do a better job allocating resources to target domestic violence.  We cannot let these cases slip through the cracks anymore — we’ve seen the tragic consequences.”

Statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement back up his charge. There were nine domestic violence related murders in the county in 2014, and 17 in 2015. There was also 380 more domestic violence related offenses in Hillsborough in 2015.

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gun ownership rights can be denied to people who commit reckless acts of domestic violence. The ruled ruled 6-2 to uphold the sentences imposed on two Maine men who had argued their misdemeanor convictions for domestic abuse should not trigger a federal gun control statute.

USA Today notes that the federal law was intended to deny guns to people convicted of violent acts against family members, based in part on research showing they are more likely to use guns domestically in the future.

The Ober campaign declined to respond to our request for comment.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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