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Responding to Pittsburgh shooting, Lindsay Cross blasts Jeff Brandes on gun record

State Senate candidate Lindsay Cross is adding a new bullet point to her list of campaign priorities after the deadly mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday that claimed 11 lives.

A minute-long video being shared on social media shows a somber Cross sitting in a church pew wearing a black dress demanding “common sense” gun legislation aimed at reducing gun violence and mass shootings.

“It is past time that we have leaders who will stand up and fight for the safety of our communities,” Cross said.

That includes banning military-style assault weapons, eliminating the gun show loophole that allows consumers to purchase guns without a background check and ensuring felons and mentally ill individuals aren’t able to obtain firearms.

Cross blasts her opponent, Senate District 24 incumbent Jeff Brandes, for not standing up to the gun lobby.

“Jeff Brandes brags about being a lifetime member of the NRA and will never do what is truly needed to keep our community safe,” she said. “While I uphold the second amendment, I will never put the interests of the NRA over our people.”

Brandes was one of several Senate Republicans who faced a swift backlash from the National Rifle Association for supporting a gun bill that was ultimately approved earlier this year that, among other things, increased the age to buy guns from 18 to 21. NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer said at the time that Brandes and the other lawmakers would not receive the group’s A or A+ rating because of their support.

Cross shot the video one day after the Pittsburgh shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in which Robert Bowers used an AR-15 assault rifle to gun down members of the Jewish congregation. He told law enforcement officers after he surrendered that he wanted all Jews dead.

Bowers was a legal gun owner. He was charged with 29 different criminal violations including hate crimes. Bowers could face the death penalty.

“Our schools and places of worship should be refuges for learning and hope not the site of the next bloodbath,” Cross said.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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