TAMPA BAY - The FBI is reporting record background checks performed in December as millions of people headed out to purchase their guns. Its on the heels of the mass school shooting in Connecticut, as law makers push for stricter gun laws, many Americans are looking to exercise their Second Amendment rights before they are potentially altered.
2.8 million background checks were performed last month according to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Those numbers from December are nearly a 50-percent increase from this time last year when the record was just 1.9 million checks.
While many Americans flock to gun shops across the country, students of Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut headed back to class Thursday for the first time since the shooting rampage last month.
26 people at the school died, including 20 young students. Those who survived are heading to a new school today, in the nearby town of Monroe. The new school has been outfitted with rugs and furniture similar to what was in the classroom at their old school to help ease the transition for students. Security measures have also been increased, with a new system incorporating more cameras and locks.
The tragedy at Sandy Hook is sparking new debates about gun rights though and the Bay Area is no different. One St. Petersburg Councilman wants to tighten gun laws as soon as possible, in an effort to keep our streets a little safer.
The tighter gun law conversation has made its way to the Bay Area where one St. Petersburg council member says something just has to be done to keep our streets safe. Councilman Steve Kornell says he is looking to send lobbyists to Tallahassee to pressure state leaders to discuss tougher gun laws. With these new requests, Councilman Kornell would like state leaders to ban the sale of assault weapons and require all gun purchases and sales to be documented in some sort of registry.
"If you had to register your gun, like you have to register your car, it would make it easier for police to figure out where the gun came from, says Councilman Kornell. "And for those instances where they were obtained illegally and it can be proven, those people can be prosecuted."
His push is something people in the Bay Area say they are happy with.
"Its a great idea," says Callista Harrison. "You can't just have a bunch of people running around like I have guns. Its just not responsible. To be honest, there is really no need to have an AK47. There are no scary bears in the area. Its not a war torn area. Theres absolutely no need for it. I mean its nice to have one. Its cool. But why do you need it?"
Councilman Kornell proposed something similar to this back in 2011, but it was left on the table. Council members are expected to vote on adding his gun control plea to their resolution on January 10.