Pinellas County Sheriff candidates talk gun control -well, sort of

"If somebody wants to get a gun, they're going to get a gun, so I don't support additional regulations," he said recently.

Though acknowledging "room for discussion" on the issue, he says he does not support the regulations of handguns, shotguns, rifles or any other "basic gun."

However, "when you get into high powered heavy duty weaponry, then that's a different story. I think it's right to have at least some discussion."

Everett Rice wasn't so forthcoming about the subject, instead alerting CL that he's been endorsed by the NRA, "so obviously I'm more pro Second Amendment than my opponent is."

He says what's needed to is put criminals in jail that are using guns and keeping them out of the hands of criminals.

In the wake of the Colorado mass shooting a group of Democratic senators called on Congress to pass new legislation that would establish federal restrictions on large capacity gun magazines. The amendment to the Cybersecurity Act would ban the sale or transfer of large capacity feeders like magazines, belts, feed stripes and drums that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition with the exception of .22 caliber rim fire ammunition.

In Aurora James Holmes purchased a 100 round drum magazine that he used in his shooting spree last week. In January of 2011 Jared Loughner, who killed six people and wounded 14 others, including former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords last year, used an extended magazine that held 33 bullets. Under the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, these two killers could not have legally purchased these large capacity ammunition feeding devices. On the state level, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York all prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines.

(The Cybersecurity act was blocked in the Senate last week).

Rice said he didn't know how many shots were fired in the movie theater in Aurora, but he doesn't think limiting the amount of ammunition would have made any difference.

While serving in the Florida Legislature in 2005, Rice voted in favor of the Stand Your Ground Law. He agreed that it might "need to tweak it some," and said some judges and prosecutors "need to get education on how it should be applied." But he stands foursquare behind his vote.

  • Bob Gualiteri

GOP primary voters voting on August 14 (as well as currently through absentee ballots) are facing the choice of retaining incumbent Sheriff Bob Guiliteri, or bringing back former sheriff Everett Rice, who ran the department from 1988 to 2004.

In last week's copy of CL, we reported on this intense battle, but because of space constraints, couldn't report on the candidates thoughts about guns and gun violence.

We spoke with the candidates when the the horrific incident in Aurora, Colorado was fresh in the news. Since that time there has been another mass shooting, this time in suburban Milwaukee, where Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people inside a Sikh temple before killing himself.

CL asked both candidates their thoughts on whether guns should be regulated more than Florida law currently allows.

Of course, what the candidates think has no bearing on changing the law, since local governments in the Sunshine State are prohibited from changing such laws, an issue that surfaced when the city of Tampa realized they were impotent to regulate the carrying of guns inside the city's so called "Event Zone" during next month's Republican National Convention.

Not surprisingly as they contend for the Republican nomination, both candidates emphasize their strong support for the Second Amendment and the right to carry concealed firearms.

Gaulitieri opposes openly carrying handguns, which are one of the few gun bans still in place in the Sunshine State (Everett Rice does not).

But other than that, Gaulitieri is pretty pro guns.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

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