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Bill Nelson assails the use of assault weapons after Orlando massacre

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Bill Nelson says there are a couple of potential legal remedies that should be addressed in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting Sunday morning that led to 49 people being killed.

Multiple news agencies are reporting that the shooter, Omar Mateen, of Port Saint Lucie, had been a person of interest to federal authorities in both 2013 and 2014. The Federal Bureau of Investigation at one point opened an investigation into Mateen, but subsequently closed the case when it produced nothing that appeared to warrant further investigation.

“Maybe what we ought to do where someone has had a case like that, keep it fresh when they go to buy a gun, so that pops up on the background check,” said the Florida Senator, speaking on MSNBC Monday morning.

Officials say Mateen had a gun license by virtue of his work as a security officer and that he legally purchased the weapons used in the attack. It’s been reported that one of the weapons was a legally purchased AR-15-style weapon.

Nelson addressed that as well.

“There’s no sense to have assault weapons being sold,” the Florida Democrat added. “That’s for killing. That’s not for hunting,” adding that with the power of the National Rifle Association, he didn’t see anything happening on the legislative front to address that issue.

Nelson lives in the Orlando area and has been a constant presence on news coverage since Sunday morning. He says there’s no doubt that the massacre – the worst gun shooting in American history – was “ISIS-inspired.”

“It’s terrorism, and terrorism is meant to instill fear. And that’s where we have to dig down deep and overcome this, and go on about our daily lives as Americans. That’s the best way to respond to this. And then, pray and grieve with the Orlando community.”

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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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