ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - There is no room for assault rifles in St. Petersburg, city council member Steve Kornell said. He wants the semi-automatic and automatic weapons banned.
Kornell will ask fellow city council members at a meeting this week to ban assault weapons in the city. Kornell also wants a resolution asking the state and federal government to follow suit. "I think it's an issue whose time has come," said Kornell. "I think most people get why you can't have military assault weapons."
The proposal comes after three St. Petersburg police officers have been shot dead this year, none with an assault weapon. However in 2009, eight-year-old Paris Whitehead-Hamilton was accidentally killed when her home was sprayed with more than 50 rounds from assault weapons. Police say the gunmen were after someone else in the home.
"I believe in the Constitution and this is not about taking away anybody's rights," said Kornell. "But people do not have a right to own a personal military assault weapon."
St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon agrees. "Assault rifles are meant basically to kill human beings," said Harmon. "There are no other uses for them."
Gun owners like Earl Rhodes agree with the chief, but still want to own assault weapons. "If I'm in a situation where I need to protect my family, I don't want a single shot shotgun when I can have an assault weapon to do it with," said Rhodes. Rhodes owns two SKS assault rifles.
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