Les Miller believes the government can help reduce gun violence

Most polls indicate that Americans are hungry for some type of gun regulation in the wake of the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary massacre from mid-December, but the latest word from Washington D.C. shows support dying out for such measures in Congress.

When asked if he believes that the government can pass laws that adequately address gun violence, Miller said he believes so.

"If our Legislature and our congressional people bit the bullet and said we would have better background checks, that we would limit the amount of ammunition that can be sold, that we would outlaw assault rifles ... I think we could curtail some of the violence we have now," Miller said.

"It's easy to buy a gun," he continued. " You can buy an Uzi out of the back of a car without a background check. Will we stop that if we pass such legislation?

The Tampa Bay Times Toluse Olorunnipa reported last month that even though more than two dozen gun-control bills have been introduced in the Legislature this year (all by Democrats), none are expected to even be debated.

Miller said he has little patience with gun owners who fear that the government will take away their guns, supposedly a reason why Republicans in Washington are reluctant to support a universal background check law.

"Come on, folks. No one is trying to take away anybody's rights to bear arms," he said."If you're going to legally own a gun, legally own a rifle, if you go through the process of what you have to do to get that, nobody's taking away your rights. We're trying to stop the violence like we had the weekend before last on Sleigh and 50th Street where a guy was gunned down in the broad daylight with a guy who shot him because they had a fist fight ... those guns were not getting off the street in buyback, but I think if we put some things into place, we can curtail some violence in this country. Not all violence."

  • Les Miller

In January, the Hillsborough County Commission approved a task force to address how to prevent gun violence in the county. The committee is composed of law enforcement officials, educators, and mental health and medical professionals. It was a measure pushed by County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who wasn't successful in getting his colleagues to support spending money for a gun buyback program — an initiative that many local communities (including Tampa and the Hillsborough Sheriff's department) have conducted over the years.

Among those who didn't support the gun buyback plan was Commissioner Les Milller, which surprised some observers because he was never reluctant to support or file gun-control legislation in the many years he served in the Legislature in Tallahassee.

Back in January, Miller said (and repeated back to CL today) that while such a program sounds good and will get some guns off the street, he thinks its appeal is limited.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]