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Philip Levine says it’s time to get rid of assault weapons

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando last weekend, Democrats in Florida and across the country are demanding that Congress address gun control legislation.

Though they may be ultimately unsuccessful next week, they are almost universally saying something be done.

You can include Philip Levine on that list.

The Miami Beach Mayor was ubiquitous this weekend at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood for the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue conference, as he is doing little to tamp down rumors of a potential 2018 gubernatorial run.

Levine told FloridaPolitics.com that he’s a proud concealed weapons permit holder, but says it’s time to ban all assault weapons.

“I think we’re all dancing around the same thing, but we need to get it done,” he said Saturday afternoon.

Clearly we know this was a hate crime, a terrorist attack, but we also know this person was able to buy an assault weapon with the horrible things in this individuals’ background, the watch list, and still bought an assault weapon, and I think in order to aid ourselves in our anti-terrorism, we need to get rid of the assault weapons.”

Levine says the only way that serious gun-control legislation can occur is with campaign finance reform.

“As long as you have all NRA backing all these candidates, I mean, who bites the hand that feeds them? They all want to keep their jobs. They want to be able to get the money from the NRA so even though in their heart of hearts they know this is the wrong thing, they’re still doing it. And what we’ve learned in politics unfortunately is that people go where the money is, instead of doing the right thing. And I think this is a bigger wake-up call. I don’t think it’s going to be the last wake up call, maybe eventually somebody will wake up and do the right thing. I think Tallahassee needs to listen. I guess unless it affects someone in your own family, you don’t become converted, and it’s a tragedy.”

Levine didn’t deny he is thinking of running for governor in ’18.

“It’s not about how many elected leaders you know, it’s about what can you do for the state,” he said when asked if he was doing a lot of networking. “What is your background? For me, I m the mayor of Miami Beach, and I love it. It’s the greatest job in the world.”

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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