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Commission Says No to Gun Buyback, Yes to Task Force

Commissioner Kevin Beckner’s plan to curb gun violence was met with a lukewarm reception during today’s meeting in downtown Tampa.

Hillsborough County taxpayers won’t be on the hook for a gun buyback program – just yet at least.

Commissioner Kevin Beckner’s proposal to launch an annual buyback program was heard by the full board Wednesday and was shot down. One part of his proposal – an idea to create a task force to look into gun violence – was approved, however, according to The Tampa Tribune.

That task force, the Tribune reports, could make a recommendation to enact an annual buyback, but for now that particular idea is on ice.

"The premise is very simple," Beckner was quoted by the Tribune as saying. "Every gun that's removed from the home or streets and taken from public circulation is one less gun that can be used in an incidence of gun violence."

Beckner made his proposal as a reaction to the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn., slayings.

Residents in attendance at the meeting also had mixed opinions about the proposal.

“A gun buyback program is not going to get thugs off streets,” said Michelle Williams. “I know. I’m a gun owner. It’s not going to reach the people it needs to reach.

“In all of information I’ve seen, mental health problems are the big concern ,” said Terry Kemple. “I don’t think we should be spending money on a gun buyback program. It hasn’t proven to work in other places it’s been tried. I encourage you to give this some serious thought.”

Gerald White, however, agreed with Beckner’s proposal.

“We need to do everything we can to protect the young people in our community. I believe this will serve the community very well and particularly the African-American community. Also, young people need to be educated. They need to know that a sworn officer can shoot, can kill if you point a gun at him.”

What do you think, Westchase? Was this the right decision or should the county have pursued a gun buyback program? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Bloomingdale-Riverview Patch Editor D'Ann White contributed to this report.

Teresa Trubilla January 10, 2013 at 02:28 PM
The guns that are turned in during buy back programs are often non-working, old guns that someone just did not know how to correctly dispose of. I do not believe a buy-back program would accomplish much more than to waste tax payers money. Legal guns can be very costly so it does not make sense for someone to turn one in for a fraction of its actual worth. If someone is not comfortable having it in their home any longer, it can easily be sold for its real value. It is not much different with illegal guns that can be sold on the street for more than is available in a buy back offer. Someone who has ill-intent would not be turning in a gun either. A buy back would do nothing to protect the citizens of the community and might only serve to create a false sense of security.

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