Mitch Perry Report 1.14.14: Gun madness continues in Florida

Plus: Sebelius touts Obamacare in Tampa, Alex Sink's a frontrunner and more …

Posted by Mitch Perry on Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Apologies for the tardiness of the MPR today, but technical difficulties absolutely beyond my control or understanding are the culprit.

The folks who resist any type of meaningful gun reform always insist that it’s just those few "lone nuts” out there who are the exception, not the norm, when it comes to being responsible gun owners. And while statistically that might be true, try telling that to the friends and family of Chad Oulson today.

Oulson was the 43-year-old moviegoer who offended former Tampa Police officer Curtis Reeves Jr. right before the matinee screening of Lone Survivor at the Grove 16 theater in Wesley Chapel Monday afternoon. Reeves Jr. was upset that Oulson was texting during the previews and told him to stop. Apparently after Oulson didn’t stop texting, shouting occurred. Reeves Jr. then pulled out his gun and shot Oulson, killing him in front of his wife, who had taken the day off to go to the movies with her husband.

It should be noted that Florida does not ban firearms in movie theaters. Should we? At this point if we were doing talk radio we’d hear from a Second Amendment enthusiast saying that in fact, more guns should be allowed, so that … what? Nicole Oulson could have taken out Reeves? This is madness, folks. Don’t be surprised if we hear at some point that Reeves is using a Stand Your Ground defense. There was much hue and cry about that law in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case. Can we just quickly go ahead and pass a law banning guns in theaters? What’s this guy doing bringing a firearm to a movie theater? So he has the ability to defend himself against texters?

Speaking of things that are legal but shouldn't be in the Sunshine State, did you know it’s still legal in Florida to fire someone because he’s gay? Although there are plenty of local regulations in the state (such as in Tampa, St. Pete and Pinellas County), there is no overriding state law banning such discrimination. Two Democrats in Tallahassee want to change that, and yesterday several major corporations announced that they are backing that effort.

Meanwhile, Kathleen Sebelius was in town yesterday, touting the fact that signing up for the ACA has never been easier in Tampa now that Mayor Bob Buckhorn is allowing navigators to sign people up at nine different recreation centers throughout the city.

And last but certainly not least, Pinellas County registered Republicans will choose their candidate to face Alex Sink in the special congressional election there in March. No pressure on Alex, but Politico yesterday declared her the “unambiguous favorite” in the race.

Comments (2)

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One has to wonder what to make of a former police cop who (incidentally started the Tampa Police Department’s SWAT team) comes to a movie showing with a loaded gun? How much sympathy can Reeves expect to receive from the courts? It’s not like he was on security watch, on duty, protecting his property, reacting to imminent danger (unless loud text noises now constitute imminent threats).

Then again there is the prevailing view from many that one should be allowed to bear arms at any moment and at any time. Which raises the question do we really want a society where violence is always one argument, misunderstanding, temper tantrum, one hurt ego away?

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Posted by Christopher Koulouris on 01/14/2014 at 6:09 PM

I think it is possible the retired cop believed he could stop a shooting like the one in Aurora, Co., if that should happen. Retired cops can carry weapons many places that would surprise some people, with the correct permits. There were so many options that might have diffused the stressful situation. Isn't it the Japanese who save face by being polite to people who are critical. I wish that had been possible on Jan. 13th.

Posted by C Holland on 01/20/2014 at 3:56 AM
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