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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida lawmaker: All legislators should be armed



William March reports:

A pro-gun rights Tampa Bay area state legislator, commenting on the Virginia shooting at a congressional baseball practice, said in a forum Friday the shooting shows people should carry guns in public – even at swimming pools or playing softball.

“We don’t all have armed bodyguards,” Tampa Tiger Bay Club member Elizabeth Corwin told five Tampa-area legislators at the club’s forum, and then asked what they recommend for people playing softball or at swimming pools in public.

“Each one of those congressmen should be carrying a weapon,” responded state Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City. “We all should be carrying a weapon.” He didn’t respond to comments from the crowd that it would be difficult to carry a gun while playing softball.

Reactions of the legislators at the forum displayed partisan reactions to the shooting – Democrats saying it showed the need for tighter gun laws and Republicans saying it shows more people need to carry guns.

“We need common sense gun legislation, more strict background checks,” said state Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg.

“We have to stop letting guns fall into the hands of mentally ill people,” said Rep. Wengay Newton, D-St. Petersburg.

Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa agreed the incident showed, “We do need to do a better job of keeping guns out of the hands of people who have mental disability.”

But state Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said the presence of legal guns in public isn’t the problem.

“We’re not seeing shootings by people with lawfully obtained concealed weapons permits,” he said.


[Last modified: Friday, June 16, 2017 4:34pm]


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