'Gun show loophole' to be discussed at Pasco County public hearing

5:32 PM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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New Port Richey, Florida -- Pasco County Commissioners on Tuesday decided to hold a public hearing on whether to close the county's so-called "gun show loophole." Closing the loophole would mean firearms sold at gun shows would require a background check and three-day waiting period.

Only a handful of counties in the state have voted to close the loophole, but the list includes nearby Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

"Right now in Pasco County, any person can go to a gun show and buy a firearm -- including assault rifles -- without any background check. This increases the dangers to all residents of Pasco County," said Lynn Lindeman, the Pasco County Democratic Party Chair.

Lindeman was one of three people who spoke on the issue on Tuesday before commissioners voted 3-2 to hold a public hearing at a later date.

But Bill Bunting told commissioners the problem isn't a three-day waiting period. Instead, he says gun violence is a mental health issue.

"If they can legally purchase with mental health problems that's not going to change the situation," said Bunting, who opposes closing the loophole.

Bunting, a state committeeman for the Republican Party of Florida, also believes adding a waiting period is just another step toward stripping Americans of their gun rights.

"There's always going to be something else. Their agenda is to take away guns, period. And if they can get their foot in the door here, they're going to do it again."

But Lindeman and the Executive Director of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence say they're pushing for the change to make residents safer, nothing more.

"The ingredients are here. The felons, the mental issue and easy access to guns at gun shows without any background checks," Lindeman said.

"You know, we've got 300 million firearms in this country. Half of those people when they bought them, never went through a background check so we've got some catching up to do," added Arthur Hayhoe.

No date for the public hearing on the issue has yet been set.

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