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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.

Commissioner Kevin Beckner’s proposal to launch an annual buyback program was heard by the full board today 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."

Becker 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, South Tampa? 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.

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