Pasco commissioners cancel gun control hearing
DADE CITY -
Pasco County commissioners backed off their plan to hold a public hearing later this month on whether to enact local gun control measures.
"It's outrageous," local Democratic Party Chairman Lynn Lindeman said. He wrote the commissioners in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting asking them to reconsider closing the loophole that allows people in Pasco County to buy firearms at gun shows without being subjected to a background check or a three-day waiting period.
"This is really a shock to me," Lindeman said. "There was a poll that just came out today that says 94 percent of people living in Florida want background checks."
The public hearing was scheduled for March 19 in New Port Richey. Assistant County Attorney Kristi Sims asked commissioners to consider canceling or delaying the hearing before it's advertised.
"I don't mean to tell you, you don't have authority to do this – because you do," Sims said. "I think we could draft local options that would probably withstand a legal challenge. I certainly think you have the right to pass them under the Florida constitution." But Sims noted that Pinellas County already has the type of local regulations Pasco commissioners were considering, and that county has been sued in state and federal court. "I think the outcome of those lawsuits will put our office in a better position to advise you," she said. She offered to report back to commissioners later in the year on the status of the Pinellas litigation and potential gun control legislation. "As much as I want to see the gun show loophole abolished, I'm in agreement," Commissioner Pat Mulieri said. "We need to be prudent." firstname.lastname@example.org (813)371-1852 Twitter: @lkinslerTBO