Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been outspoken in criticizing the Florida Legislature this year regarding two controversial bills involving guns, and he’ll join the Florida League of Women Voters on Monday to formally speak out against legislation that would allow for the open carrying of firearms in Florida.
Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward, State Attorney Mark Ober, and Patricia Bingham, chair of the League of Women Voters Committee on Gun Safety, are scheduled to also speak at the news conference.
Buckhorn has always been a supporter of gun-control legislation, as he told this reporter earlier this month.
“Back in the late 1990s, I was one of the guys that led the effort around the state to pass the constitutional amendment that required three-day waiting period, in the aftermath of two of our detectives having been killed.”
Those detectives, Rick Childers, 46, and Randy Bell, 44, were killed by Hank Earl Carr in May of 1998. Floridians passed a constitutional amendment that November that required each county to have the authority to require a criminal history records check and a 3-to-5 day waiting period in connection with the sale of any firearm. “And so when Bell and Childers was killed, for us as a community that became very personal,” Buckhorn said.
“As a mayor, I see the carnage,” he added. “I mean I’m a gun owner. I’ve been a gun owner my entire life, I have no problem with the Second Amendment.”
The other controversial gun bill in Tallahassee being discussed this session is a bill that would allow concealed guns on the campuses of the state’s 40 public colleges and universities.
However on Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla announced that he will not schedule a hearing on that bill, an announcement that cheered many Democrats in Florida.
“I represent a lot of students,” Tampa Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor said earlier this week, referring to the University of Tampa, Hillsborough Community College, St. Petersburg College and USF. “I do not hear anything from parents, students, law enforcement, anyone that works on those campuses about a need to open carry a weapon. To the contrary, people are appalled that the Florida Legislature (was) even considering that.”