ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- There is renewed debate over gun control in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting. Many people have strong opinions on the subject, including those right here in the Bay area.
St. Petersburg City Councilman Steve Kornell thought about the issue for more than a year. In 2011, the councilman brought up a resolution to ask the state to re-instate a ban on military-style assault weapons. It didn't pass.
"The bigger question is, since that time, how many illegal guns have been used in St. Petersburg to commit a crime? And have we been able to do anything about it?" said Councilman Kornell.
Kornell wants to see a discussion on what he calls "reasonable regulations," including the ban, and changes to what he feels is a loophole at gun shows.
"If you go into a shop, you have a 3-day waiting period and you have a background check, but when you go to the gun show to do it, you don't have some of the regulations in place. That should be fixed," said Kornell.
Thomas Flanagan, a NRA-certified shooting instructor, doesn't believe changes are necessary.
"What would stricter gun laws do to stop what happened there? To stop what happened in Columbine? To stop what happened in Virginia Tech? You know, I don't know if anything would stop that," he said.
Flanagan said he has the right to arm himself in whatever way would benefit him and his family, and thinks it's a slippery slope if lawmakers re-instate the ban on assault weapons. The instructor also believes stricter gun laws can do more harm than good.
"If teachers, if the principal, had been allowed to carry, maybe there'd be one or two dead children, which is still a terrible thing, but there wouldn't be 20," added Flanagan.
It's a debate that is far from over in the wake of such tragedy.
Councilman Kornell said his goal is not to take away legal guns, just illegal ones. Flanagan, meanwhile, believes there should be more emphasis on instruction for new gun owners.
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