ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The weekend shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio are re-igniting passionate debate about assault rifles and who should be allowed to own them.
Gun control advocates rallied in St. Petersburg on Monday night, calling for changes to gun laws and mourning the dead in the weekend’s violence.
In El Paso Texas, 22 died when a crazed gunman opened fire at a Walmart.
26 were injured.
The next day in Dayton, Ohio, another man with a weapon shot and killed 9, and injured 27.
At the Williams park vigil, people stood with candles to remember the recent mass shooting deaths. Kelly Moore with “Moms Demand Action” said, now is the time for the laws to change. “We’re sad. We’re hurting. We’re traumatized nationwide by these events and we need that pain and channel it into action. Tell your representatives that you cannot take this anymore. You want your families to be safe on the streets and movie theatres and malls and schools” said Moore.
The Mayors from Tampa and St. Petersburg, joined the vigil, along with religious leaders of many faiths. “You keep thinking, okay, this is gonna be the one. Okay, this is gonna be the one” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Kriseman said he’s frustrated with the lack of action in D.C. and Tallahassee.
“We’re not talking about banning guns. We’re talking about common-sense policies. Ya know, you think about assault weapons, what were they designed for? They were designed for one purpose. Killing” said Kriseman.
Florida Representative Charlie Crist said the mass shootings are maddening, and lawmakers have the power to curtail the violence.
“This is not a Republican issue. Not a Democratic issue. This is an American issue. We have an epidemic of this in America and it must stop” said Representative Crist.
Leaders here are pleading for background checks on gun sales potentially issuing a red flag law for people who should not own guns.
They want special rules for domestic abusers, and restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.