Andrew Gillum: GOP will go ‘overboard’ on guns


While some Republicans are criticizing Democrats for “exploiting” the Las Vegas shooting, Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum says he worries it might only embolden state Republicans to come up with their own pro-gun legislation when they convene in January.

“Without a doubt, somebody is going to propose a bill that says we got to have guns everywhere,” Gillum told about two dozen University of Tampa students who gathered to hear him make the latest round of his tour of state universities. “It happened last session. It’s the answer that the NRA and their friends go back to at every single recourse.”

Gillum then segued into recounting his own experience dealing with gun violence shortly after becoming elected mayor in November 2014, when a former student shot at three victims inside Florida State University’s packed library before he was killed by campus police (one of the victims remains paralyzed from the waist down).

It gave him the opportunity to bash GOP efforts in the state legislature the past few two sessions where a bit that would allow college and university students on campuses was debated but ultimately died in committee.

“Can you imagine if every student in that library had a gun? And law enforcement showed up on the scene had to figure out and discern at a moment’s notice what was good, what was bad, what was the threat and who was being self-defending?” he asked, disputing that the law would make students safer.

He told students that, as legislative committees begin meeting next week, they need to be attentive to what gets proposed, claiming that some legislators heading into an election may try to go “overboard” in displaying their conservative bona fides to the NRA.

Sarasota Republican Senator Greg Steube sponsored 10 such pro-gun bills leading into the 2017 session, including separate proposals that would legally allow for guns on college campuses, airports, religious schools and career centers — all of which failed.

Gillum was originally scheduled to speak at UT back during the first full week in September, but the visit was cancelled as Hurricane Irma began moving closer to Florida.

He gave his traditional stump speech to the students, including a brief mention of what he has described as “taking on” the NRA.

That’s when he and his colleagues on the Tallahassee City Commission (which he served on before becoming mayor) were sued in 2014 by gun rights groups Florida Carry and Second Amendment Foundation because they didn’t repeal an ordinance that bans the shooting of guns in public parks. The NRA was not part of that original lawsuit, but later joined.

“Radical,” he said with a mocking tone. “Can’t shoot guns in city parks where kids play and families picnic.”

Gillum also told the students that he welcomes what could be a large influx of Puerto Ricans to his city, as residents relocate to Florida to resume their lives following the devastation that occurred on the island since Hurricane Maria pounded it two weeks ago.

He said he wanted to have “seamless integration” in the K-12 system in the city’s schools, and said every benefit given to a Floridian ought to be made available for those relocating from the island, which he said should include waiving the one-year requirement of living in Florida before qualifying for in-state tuition to the state’s colleges and universities.

“There’s already enough disruption in the lives of those individuals. We’ve got to figure out how to reduce that level of disruption,” he said.

Gillum is one of three Democrats who are officially running for governor, along with Winter Park businessman Chris King and former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, also of Tallahassee. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Orlando attorney/entrepreneur John Morgan also are considering a run.

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was 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 and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected].


  • Say What!?!

    October 4, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Gillum’s record as Mayor of Tallahassee:
    Highest violent crime rate in the state.
    City and CRA investigated and subpoenaed by the feds.

    Let’s not take that to the next level.

  • Rich Nascak

    October 5, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    “Can you imagine if every student in that library had a gun? And law enforcement showed up on the scene had to figure out and discern at a moment’s notice what was good, what was bad, what was the threat and who was being self-defending?”

    One’s imagination is limitless, as are the hypothetical scenarios gun control advocates posit, despite no evidence to support their irrational fears on campuses where licensed carry is lawful. Fear mongering is a major tool in the gun-hater toolbox.

  • tess

    October 10, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Just as gun ‘lovers’ make arguments that reference nothing of significance. The issue is safety, and meaningful laws that are enforced, to protect the populace that’s too dumb to protect itself. Most reasonable citizens who already carry don’t have to announce their machismo, and take steps so that ALL are safer, by learning how to shoot, care for, and handle their guns. No law is going to protect us from mad men. (And everyone pulling out their piece is a good way to get (legally) shot.)

Comments are closed.


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