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"Vocal Majority" Tour Bus Pushes For Tougher Gun Legislation

A multi-state bus tour pushing for tougher gun legislation came to St. Pete Thursday morning.

The "" tour is led by former astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife- former Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Kelly and Giffords formed the political action committee Americans for Responsible Solutions in 2013.

Giffords was critically injured in a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona in January of 2011.

The bus set up in front of St. Pete City Hall where Mayor Rick Kriseman, Councilwoman Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, Council Chair Amy Foster and former Florida governor Charlie Crist spoke their support for “commonsense change that keeps guns out of the wrong hands to vote to stop gun violence.”  

"It is time to support commons sense change, to help keep guns out of the wrong hands, and to no longer be silent,” said Wheeler-Brown, a gun owner. “I'm not saying that we can prevent every tragedy, but we are a nation of law and order and it is time to close the loopholes in our background check laws."

Kriseman said that nine people have been fatally shot in St. Pete just this year.

“We could use some help getting the wrong guns out of the wrong hands… we have to rely on elections and we have to rely on the court systems,” Kriseman said. “People just need to vote, for it’s not hyperbole to suggest these elections are truly about life and death.

There were also 276 guns stolen out of vehicles and buildings.

“You can’t claim to be a responsible gun owner if you don’t secure your gun,” Kriseman said. “Gun owners, do your part. Keep our kids and community safe.”

Crist spoke, too.

“I am a gun owner. I am a hunter. And I believe in the second amendment,” Crist said. “But I am a programmatic  person. And I understand the consequences of not having common sense regulation as it relates to this issue.”

Betty Morgenstein, a St. Pete Beach resident, was one of about dozen people who came out to city hall to show their support for the initiative.

"I want more control of guns, absolutely, and the idea of open carrying is insane,” Morgenstein said.

The tour started off earlier thus week in Orlando to show support for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. On Friday, it heads to Tallahassee before joining up with Giffords and Kelly in Iowa.

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Daylina Miller/WUSF News /

Daylina Miller/WUSF News /

Daylina Miller, multimedia reporter for Health News Florida, was hired to help further expand health coverage statewide.