St. Pete councilman Steve Kornell seeks to direct city lobbyists to advocate for gun control

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In the wake of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. many organizations, government officials and businesses are rethinking and challenging America’s policy on gun control, reports William Mansell of Patch.

Local Rep. Kathy Castor is calling for a limit on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons; former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said there needs tougher background checks and even Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods are curtailing their sales of assault weapons.

In St. Pete, one council member is seeking a resolution to ask city lobbyists to pressure state officials in Tallahassee to have a discussion on stricter gun laws in Florida.

“I think the two things for sure that need to happen, No. 1, an assault weapons ban,” said council member Steve Kornell. “That and tightening up the laws that allow you to prosecute someone for purchasing a gun for someone that can’t buy one legally.”

He said “assault weapon” is too loosely defined, too easy to obtain and just too dangerous to do any good.

Council will discuss the proposed resolution, which was submitted by Kornell this week, at the Jan. 10 council meeting.

While his new business item is about having a gun control discussion, Kornell insists his action was not a knee-jerk reaction to the shootings in Connecticut that left 27 dead.

“That was a horrific tragedy. My heart and prayers go out to the families,” Kornell said. “But, I’m also concerned with what’s happening right here.

“Since the elementary school shooting, we’ve had the guy in Clearwater Beach found with a cache of guns andwe had a shooting (yesterday) morning at a hotel in Kenwood,” Kornell added.

Kornell, who is also a school social worker at Dixie Hollins High School, tried to bring a similar gun control resolution before council in June 2011. However, his proposal was rebuffed by half of the council out of fear of legal repercussions from Gov. Rick Scott.

A new Florida law prohibits municipal governments from passing laws pertaining to state gun law. Those who do, face legal action from the state.

For Kornell, this is part of the problem.

“Tallahassee is so beholden to the NRA, they don’t want to hear anything from the people,” Kornell said on why cities hands are tied in making gun laws. “The NRA has stopped representing gun owners and hunters and really started representing gun manufactures that pump millions of dollars into these lobbying efforts.

“To continue to bury our heads in the sand and let the NRA write gun laws and influence policy, I don’t think it’s going to have a positive result for the people of St. Petersburg,” Kornell added.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.