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Rep. Young Asked to Support Obama's Gun Policies

Local city and community leaders from across Florida asked their local legislative officials Monday to stand up and support President Obama's gun violence prevention policies.

City leaders and community activists rallied around the state Monday to advocate for stronger background checks in hopes local legislative leaders would support President Barack Obama's new gun control initiatives. 

At the St. Petersburg City Hall on Monday, leaders called on U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Indian Shores) to support Obama's gun violence prevention proposals. 

St. Pete resident Lisa Brown began her speech Monday by reading the names of gun violence victims in St. Pete and Pinellas County. 

"Officer Crawford." "Paris Whitehead." "Officer Yaslowitz." "Destynee Burkes."

She concluded by saying one last name, her son, "Cabretti Wheeler". 

"All victims of gun violence," Brown said Monday. "Victims that were murdered senselessly. Like someone thought they had the right to take their life. They were murdered with guns.

"Our children should not be wondering if they can make it to the age of 21," Brown added. "Not only am I standing here because I lost my 21-year-old son to gun violence but I am advocating for all children, all men and women that it’s time to do something."

Brown, St. Pete council members Steve Kornell and Karl Nurse and Rev. Russell L Meyer, executive director of the Florida Council of Churches, asked Rep. Young on Monday to be out front in gun prevention violence. They want him to support "common sense" solutions to gun violence by supporting universal background checks. 

Kornell said the goal is to make sure guns stay out of the hands of all convicted felons, not out of the hands of people who can legally own a gun. Last week, the St. Pete City Council voted 8-0 to support a resolution to send to state and federal legislatures in hopes they would support universal gun background checks. 

"We know common sense tells us we need to make it more difficult for criminals to buy guns," Nurse said. "More difficult for the mentally ill to buy a gun. We do not need semi-automatic riffles to go hunting. The only purpose of those is mass murder.

"It’s time for Congressman Young to step up," Nurse said. "He knows the right thing to do is to support common sense measure that (will) protect the law abiding citizens from the criminals."

Meyer said the focus needs to be on not only preventing criminals from obtaining guns, but an increased focus on trauma care, mental health accessibility and re-entry program to help people coming from the criminal justice system become productive members of society. 

"Whether by mass murder, drive-by shootings, or suicide, the easy access to guns and weapons of mass murder must come to an end," Meyer said. "They are killing our youth.

"We kill more people in our cities, towns and streets then we do in war," Meyer added. "The answer is not to arm everyone. As Dr. King said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth means we all become blind and toothless.’ "

Obama is expected to speak about his gun control proposals during Tuesday night's State of the Union address. 

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B Wood February 12, 2013 at 06:54 PM
I am all for the existing background checks for all purchasers, including gun shows. But some common sense has to be used regarding gun shows. Current law requires the seller to hold the purchasers gun for a 3-5 day wait period AFTER they purchase the gun. Gun shows are setup in rented convention centers for just 2-3 days. The government needs to provide a process that allows customers to pickup they guns locally after the waiting period. Currently nothing exists and Obama does not address this issue. Obama needs to apply some of the common sense that you talk about. Similarly, the ACLU lawsuits blocks mental health profiling as a violation of the criminally insane, mentally unstable and violent individuals personal rights. And you can't give them treatment without their on permission. Where is the common sense in all that? Under the current law, there have been over 77,000 gun applications denied because background failed yet the Federal government has only prosecuted only 40 individuals. Why is the government letting these convicts off the hook? No law will be effective if it is not enforced. None of what Obama has suggested provides an effective solution to any of these very important issues.
B Wood February 12, 2013 at 07:34 PM
I am all for the existing background checks for all purchasers, including gun shows. But some common sense has to be used regarding gun shows. Current law requires the seller to hold the purchaser's guns for a 3-5 day waiting period while the background check is completed. Gun shows are setup in rented convention centers for just 2 or 3 days. The government needs to provide a process that allows customers to pickup their guns locally after the waiting period. Currently nothing exists and Obama does not address this issue. Obama needs to apply some of the common sense that his supporters talk about. Similarly, the ACLU lawsuits and courts have blocked mental health profiling as a violation of the criminally insane, mentally unstable and violent individual's personal rights. In addition the government can't give them treatment without their on permission. Does Obama offer a solution to that? I don't see it happening and any current talk about it happening is disingenuous. Under our currently existing laws, there have been over 77,000 gun applications denied because the individuals background check failed because they are prior felons. Yet the Federal government has only prosecuted only 40 individuals. Why is the government letting these ex-convicts off the hook? No law will be effective if it is not enforced. None of what Obama has suggested provides an effective solution to any of these very important issues.
Gary Zammito February 13, 2013 at 02:17 AM
It's fair to say that Thomas Paine would be surprised to see the name of his 1776 pamphlets used so frequently two centuries later to describe the single remedy for gun control: "COMMON SENSE". Unfortunately opinions vary as to the administration of 'common sense' in regards to gun control. Backround checks are understandable for obvious reasons. But the problem, in my opinion, goes to the root of our current culture of violence. The colonists of 1776 didn't have the problem of people shooting each other. Their lives were for the most part taken up with hard work and, in many cases, plain survival. Civilians didn't engage in mass murder (it could have been done even then without automatic weapons....it just would have taken longer). People today are exposed to extreme violence through video games, cinema and television. Regulating these various media by our current administration has not been championed. It should be looked at as the real "elephant in the room" and at least acknowledged.

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