Kriseman: ‘Not One More Dollar’
By ANNE LINDBERG and JOHN GREGG, TB Reporter
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman told thousands of anti-gun violence marchers that he will ask city council members to change the city’s investment policy so that no city money goes to manufacturers, wholesalers, or retailers of assault-style weapons. The secondary message – vote.
ST. PETERSBURG – Thousands of people of all ages gathered across Tampa Bay on Saturday (March 24) to call a halt to gun violence and to urge lawmakers to pass “common sense” gun control.
The local protests were mirrors of similar events across the world and the main March for Our Lives protest that saw thousands crammed into the streets of Washington, DC. They were all part of the March for Our Lives movement spearheaded by teenage survivors of the Valentine’s Day murders of 17 students and wounding of 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland when a gunman armed with an assault-style weapon invaded the school. An immediate goal of the movement is “common sense” gun control, particularly related to assault-style weapons.
“It’s an issue that affects everyone,” said Parisa Akbarpour, a 17-year-old senior at Sickles High School, who helped organize the protest at Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park. “Everybody’s a victim. It’s not just kids.”
The movement is also, Akbarpour, said about more than gun control. It’s about mental health, school safety and other issues.
Akbarpour agreed that the issues will require a long-term commitment to change and to voting people into office who are committed to that change.
That’s why there was a push at both the Tampa and St. Petersburg marches to register voters. Not only adults who haven’t registered, but the thousands of teens who will turn 18 before the November mid-term elections.
Frustration over the inability to make changes to gun laws and the power of the vote were the two themes St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman stressed in his short speech to the marchers in Poynter Park. Kriseman also offered a partial solution.
“Now, I would love to put in place common sense gun policies,” Kriseman told the crowd. “Polices that eliminate high-capacity magazines, armor-piercing bullets. Policies that ban assault-style weapons and bump stocks, but I can’t.
“Our purported leaders in Tallahassee have done all that they can to stop local leaders like me from doing so. There is actually a preemption in state law that says that if either I or city council enact any policies, rules, regulations ordinance, [or] executive orders in any way regulating guns we could be removed from office, fined and civilly sued.”
The crowd reacted with boos. One person called out, “Challenge it! Challenge it!”
“This November, this November, you have a chance to do that,” Kriseman said.
The crowd chanted: “Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!”
Kriseman said he can – and will – do what he’s able to do.
“But there is one thing that I can do. I want to share that with you all today,” the mayor said. “The city of St. Petersburg directly controls $700 million in investments and some of that money finds its way to gun manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.
“And I’ve decided no more. Never again. Not one more dollar.
“And so I’m going to be sending an amendment, an amended investment policy to city council soon. No longer will city money go to companies who put profit over people. No longer will the city invest its money, your money in companies who manufacture, wholesale or retail assault-style weapons. We may not be able to get common sense gun laws passed. But we can at least get them where it hurts, in their pockets.”
Kriseman thanked them for leading people to a brighter future, then said, “Please remember, in November, vote, vote…”
The crowd took up the chant:
“Vote! Vote! Vote!”
To listen to Kriseman’s speech, go to youtu.be/8SVzR5jTBxg.
To listen to a speech by state Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, delivered at the St. Petersburg march, go to youtu.be/8SVzR5jTBxg.
Inset Photo of Rick Kriseman is a screen shot from a video courtesy of Mayor Rick Kriseman. Other photos are by John Gregg, TB Reporter Correspondent.
March for Our Lives | Rick Kriseman | Gun Control | School Shooting | Parisa Akbarpour | Protest | Protest March | Tampabay News
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