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Bay Area Lawmakers Join Battle Over Gun Bills

Two Tampa Bay area members of Congress were in the middle of the battle Wednesday over gun legislation in Washington D.C.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa joined fellow House Democrats participating in a sit-in. The roughly 40 Democrats are demanding a vote on legislation that would prohibit gun sales to people on the government’s terrorism and no-fly watch lists.

Castor’s office emailed a link to video of her on the House floor leading the chant, “No bill. No break.”

“Let’s not be silent any longer. Let’s follow (U.S. Rep.) John Lewis’ lead,” Castor shouted before breaking into the chant.

The Democrats said until there’s a vote on gun legislation, the House should not go on break.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Rep. David Jolly – a Republican from Indian Rocks Beach – introduced his bill that he said is a compromise between the inaction of the "Right” and inflexible legislation of the “Left.”

Jolly said his bill, H.R. 5544, would prohibit people on the no fly list and terrorism watch list from purchasing guns. However, the proposal adds “due process” to someone denied a gun purchase.

“It’s common sense, if you are on a watch list, you shouldn’t be able to purchase a firearm,” Jolly said as he introduced the bill. “But under my legislation, if you are denied, you must be notified, not at the point of sale but within 10 days by the government that you were denied because you are on a watch list.”

The denied gun buyer would then be given a private hearing before a federal judge within 30 days. The judge would decide if the government had enough evidence to prohibit the gun sale.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (in white) joined House Democrats protesting inaction on gun legislation.
Scott Peters on Periscope /
The Florida Channel
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (in white) joined House Democrats protesting inaction on gun legislation.

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Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.