The National Rifle Association’s top official in Florida, Marion Hammer, remained silent Monday on the shootings.
During a five-hour meeting among Hillsborough County state lawmakers, the subject barely came up. Hillsborough delegation chair Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, said sufficient time was spent discussing the shooting.
“We’ve had quite a bit of conversation about that actually,” Young said during a lunch break. “We started our meeting with a moment of silence for the families and victims of that horrible shooting.”
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said it wasn’t the time to discuss the issue and the Florida Sheriffs Association issued a release that steered clear of any suggestions that the group supports tougher gun laws.
In Washington, there is more momentum on the issue than there has been in years. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced she would push for a comprehensive ban on assault weapons, while others focused on ammunition clips.
Gun control supporters got an unexpected boost from two gun-rights Democrats, Sens. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Warner of Virginia.
“I don’t know anybody in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle,” Manchin said on MSNBC. “I don’t know anybody who needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.”
A spokesman for Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said: “Sen. Nelson is a hunter and supporter of the Second Amendment. But he’s voted to ban weapons like AK-47s because he believes they’re meant for killing, not for hunting.”
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio called for a “serious and comprehensive” review of gun laws.
“He remains a strong supporter of the Second Amendment right to safely and responsibly bear arms,” spokesman Alex Conant said. “But he has also always been open to measures that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. The challenge with gun laws is that by definition criminals do not follow the law. For example, Connecticut’s gun laws, some of the strictest in the nation, were not able to prevent this atrocity.”
The White House declined to say Monday what measures the president will seek. “It’s a complex problem that will require a complex solution,” press secretary Jay Carney said.
Times/Herald staff writer Tia Mitchell contributed to this report.
Contact Alex Leary at email@example.com.