Tampa mulls resolution supporting federal assault weapons ban

Assault Weapon
City attorneys will explain City Council's rights this week.

Tampa City Council members will learn their rights Thursday as it pertains to supporting a federal assault weapons ban.

City Attorney Gina Grimes is scheduled to provide a report on the board’s legal authority to propose and approve a resolution supporting the ban.

Grimes’ report is likely to be a complicated rundown of a simple answer — not much.

First, a resolution in support or opposition of an issue — whether it’s local, state or federal — is symbolic. It merely sends a message to the community showing where the city’s values lie.

In Florida, elected municipal boards are banned from passing any gun-related ordinances that supersede state law. So, for example, Tampa City Council is not legally allowed to pass a restriction or a ban on assault weapons.

The Florida Legislature passed in 2011 and Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a preemption on local gun ordinances. That law took preemption to a whole new level, providing fines of up to $5,000 against elected officials who try to usurp state power and giving the Governor the authority to remove them from office.

That part of the law was recently struck down by a judge, but Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to appeal the ruling to a higher court.

But even if Tampa’s move is merely symbolic, it’s part of a growing tide of sentiment that military-style weapons have no place in civilian life.

The issue has been gaining steam for years as mass shootings plagued cities nationwide. People have been gunned down with assault weapons in churches, at concerts and night clubs and in schools. After last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Floridians led by surviving students made the issue mainstream.

Tampa’s effort, led by Council Chair Luis Viera, came after he was inspired by Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos who called for a similar resolution in his city. Cretekos’ stance on the issue was significant. As a Republican he bucked his party’s insistence that such a ban would be an unforgivable attack on the Second Amendment.

Cretekos’ ask ultimately failed, but that’s not stopping Viera from making sure Tampa weighs in.

“We can no longer ignore the sad reality that has been created with regard to gun safety issues. Proposals that were once common sense — like bans on assault weapons, high capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets, as well as universal background checks — are now deemed politically controversial and toxic,” Viera wrote on Facebook last week. “How did we let the political conversation go to this sad point? Proposals like this have to be part of the conversation we have in response to mass shootings and violence.”


In his post, he pointed out that Americans can support the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families while also supporting what he views as common-sense restrictions.

“I know that Tampa City Council will help lead this conversation with unequivocal moral solidarity with victims of gun violence through this resolution. Let’s move the goalposts and terms of this dialogue to where they should be on this issue,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the group Ban Assault Weapons Now is trying to get a referendum on the 2020 ballot to ban assault weapons in Florida. It’s an uphill battle though. The group needs 766,000 petition signatures by February to make the ballot. They have just over 106,000. And while public support for such a law is growing, it still might not be enough to pass voter muster. A Quinnipiac University poll in June found 59 percent support for a ban. A referendum needs 60 percent to pass.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


  • Bill Kaser

    September 30, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    You would think a mayor would have something better to do than declare how he’d like to violate everyone’s constitutional rights.

  • Eddie

    September 30, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    Are they going to remove them from the police first?

  • Ken Willey

    October 1, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    When has banning guns been more popular? Democrats managed to ram a few things through in the past and suffered consequences. Now Republicans are on board with quite a bit of it.

  • Goerge Washington

    October 1, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    AR’ Stands for ArmaLite. Some people—even some within the firearms industry and hunting and target-shooting communities—remain misinformed about AR-style modern sporting rifles, thinking that the AR prefix stands for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.” It means neither. The right to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed!!!

  • Billy

    October 1, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Who cares what they call it. They want to ban the AR when rifles kill less than 365 people a year nationwide so obviously they aren’t serious about using facts and data to drive discussions or decision making. They also don’t care that military and police veterans own over half the “weapons of war” in circulation.

    This is not step one, cities like Chicago and DC already had the Supreme Court stop them from banning handguns so this is all they can hope for to cancel gun culture.

    It won’t make them smarter by teaching technical names and terms. These are the same people that allowed a psycho in their Parkland community to grow up, buy a gun, and walk back on to campus to open fire killing students. Security observed the shooter arriving on campus, identified him as a banned threat against student safety, and did nothing. The police stood by hiding, listening to gun shots as students were slaughtered. And now this same community wants us to give up all of our guns and trust that police and security guards will protect us.

    How do they arrive at this conclusion when the events prove just the opposite? Because they can’t take responsibility for their failures so they blame an inanimate object. Blame it on the gun! So clever! (Sarcasm).

    I think that a community that has demonstrated complete incompetence when it comes to public safety should be the last ones to give me self defense advice.

    Hopefully Florida citizens don’t sign the petition and the Supreme Court rejects the insincere language of the proposal.

  • Bill

    October 2, 2019 at 12:47 am

    Abortions kill more people than all the guns in this country. When they get serious about murdering defenseless babys then maybe we can discuss our constitutional rights. The second amendment is not negotiable!


    October 2, 2019 at 1:14 am

    Civil War looms for idiot Politicians who try to remove the Rights of the Law-Abiding because Dems, Soros-Funded Thugs + their Jihadi Buddies are doing all the Mass Shootings which still are eclipsed by an average Weekend of Murders in Chicago with all their Worthless Gun Control !!!

    • Courtney harris

      October 2, 2019 at 8:16 am

      Chicago,chicago,chicago…….all you people know is Chicago! Seems like if you wanna go to a church,movie,club,school,concert,walmarts,festivals, etc and not worry about being shot then Chicago is the place to be. What’s next,black on black crime right!

  • Jon Corey

    October 2, 2019 at 2:12 am

    The mainstream is absurdly misinformed about semiautomatic weapons… it’s sad that this uneducated narrative is run on pure emotion and ideology of a “scary” looking weapon platform. Make no mistake any loss of life is tragic!
    About 98% of modern handguns and many rifles are semiautomatic… this notion of “reloading” is a farce…educated individuals understand how quickly on can reload a simple 8/10 round handgun with limited practice… let’s focus on securing schools background checks mental health notification systems domestic violence alert system on purchasers of any gun… including gun shows… dont punish millions of law abiding citizens who believe in the 2A… for a handful of bad ppl with issues… it’s the person not the gun… that has issues.. period

  • Rick

    October 2, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Violation of oath of office is perjury, perjury is treason and a felony in every state. These officials are also guilty under title 18 u.s.c. 241 conspiracy against rights and title 18 u.s.c. section 242 deprivation of rights under color of law. It is a violation of their oath of office to war against the Constitution of the United states of America,the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

  • Rick

    October 2, 2019 at 9:31 am

    They are guilty of perjury under title 5 u.s.c. sections 3331,3333,7311,and title 18 u.s.c. section 1918 for Waring against the Constitution of the United States of America,the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
    Infringed means to take away,to limit,to violate.
    The second amendment does not say the right of the militia,it explicitly says the right of the people.

Comments are closed.


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