Florida law pre-empts local governments from passing any ordinances which regulate guns, a reality that Tampa residents became acutely aware ofwhen Mayor Bob Buckhorn attempted to keep his downtown safe ahead of the 2012 Republican National Convention.
That 2011 law was mentioned briefly at the beginning of Thursday’s Tampa City Council meeting following the mass shooting Wednesday at a high school in Parkland, where a 19-year-old former student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing 17 people.
“It is sad that our Congress and our state have not done anything to help stop this,” Council Chair Yolie Capin said. “We in the city of Tampa cannot — it is against the law for us to pass any firearm regulation. If we do, we could possibly go to jail. That’s how strong it is.”
“Vote ’em out if they don’t change what needs to be changed,” Capin continued. “It is the slaughtering of our children. It’s horrific. Thank you.”
The rest of the Council sat by in silence, choosing not to say anything further.
Capin has served on the Council since 2010 and has a year remaining on her second full term in office. She had filed to run for a seat on the Hillsborough County Commission but announced last September that she would not run, and is instead serving as chair of David Straz’s exploratory committee for mayor.
While Buckhorn has not made a public statement following the Parkland shooting, he has been outspoken in advocating for gun control legislation.
When denied the opportunity to prevent guns from coming into downtown Tampa for the RNC, Buckhorn went off, saying the law made the state “look like a bunch of knuckleheads.”
“The absurdity of this juxtaposition against Stand Your Ground, and the Trayvon Martin situation, has made this state look like a bunch of knuckleheads,” he said in April 2012. We really are subject to public ridicule all over the country, and to think I can’t do anything about it is really frustrating.”