Gun control comes up as Hillsborough County approves forming a commission on violence

04/03/13 Janelle Irwin
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Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously approved spending $150,000 to create a committee to investigate how to stamp out violence in the community. The effort was pushed by Commissioner Kevin Beckner. He said the result would be more specific solutions.

"Over the period of time, that's what we typically have done is just invested in services and programs without any specific, focused outcome. So, the whole point of bringing the prevention institute is to utilize their experience with other communities to put together a comprehensive, strategic plan that will help guide us and make the recommendations we need of the appropriate services that we should be investing in so we're not just haphazardly investing in different programs and not getting to the real root of what we're trying to solve."

Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller took the measure one step further by asking staff to find out whether or not the board could implement an ordinance to require background checks on all gun sales among other gun regulations. His motion passed with all but Commissioner Mark Sharpe supporting it.

"I wake up each day appalled by the level of violence, shocked at what's occurring, looking for answers. But part of the challenge is - and this is where I actually agree with Mr. Beckner - so, our county does implement something that we can't really enforce which would only go as far as our borders - what impact would it ... have? Would it be a public, kind of - I'm looking for substantive solutions.

"Let me reiterate. I didn't say let's put, draft an ordinance ...

"Well the moment we begin the process, it's ..."

The violence committee approved Wednesday will consist of community stakeholders, Commissioner Beckner and a professional facilitator.

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