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Kriseman Toys With Joining Gun Reform Lawsuit

Roberto Roldan
WUSF Public Media
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman at a March for Our LIves rally in St. Petersburg in March. At the rally, Kriseman suggest drafting a plan to change how the city invests its money in companies that sell and make semiautomatic weapons.

Local governments in Florida can't regulate guns and city leaders who don’t abide by state law can face up to a $5,000 fine or removal from office.

That’s led 10 South Florida cities to sue the state -- and one Tampa Bay area city is thinking of joining in.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is toying with the idea of joining the lawsuit, which hopes to overturn a 2011 law backed by the National Rifle Association and signed by Gov. Rick Scott that essentially stripped cities of the ability to regulate guns.

Kriseman learned of the lawsuit during a presentation at the League of Cities Conference in Orlando this week.

That's according to Benjamin Kirby, communications director for St. Petersburg. He said the mayor will approach the issue cautiously.

“He’s inclined to join that suit but would certainly want to review the filing first, and discuss it with our city attorney before taking any action,” Kirby said.

The City of St. Petersburg is also drafting a plan to change how the city invests its money in companies that sell or make semiautomatic weapons.

Kriseman suggested that idea last month at a March For Our Lives event in St. Petersburg. That investment money doesn’t include city pension funds.

Kirby said city attorneys have started drafting the proposal.

“I don’t have an exact timeline yet, but soon (they will be) presenting to City Council for review, discussion and hopefully approval,” Kirby said.

In a speech at last month's rally, Kriseman said the investment fund is worth $700 million.

“The mayor has also been an outspoken advocate for sensible gun measures," Kirby said.  "He has had a limited ability to enact common sense gun reforms in the city that he oversees because of preemption imposed on him and any other mayor in Florida by a legislature that seems to be controlled by the NRA."

Tim Fanning is a WUSF Public Media Stephen Noble intern for spring 2018.
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