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US Senator Bill Nelson, Orange Co. Sheriff Jerry Demings Talk Gun Reform

January 16, 2012 | WMFE - Florida US Senator Bill Nelson joined Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings in Orlando Tuesday to talk about gun control issues. The two spoke to reporters from behind a table displaying military-style assault weapons and 40- to 60-round gun magazines, two of the items Nelson is seeking to restrict.

[Image: Florida US Senator Bill Nelson (left) and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings display confiscated assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazine clips]

Nelson said the AK-47 and Bushmaster assault rifles from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office evidence locker were examples of weapons meant not to hunt or to protect the home, but to kill people. Nelson said he supports the Second Amendment and owns guns himself, but in his opinion, gun control legislation is a matter of moderation. 

“I don’t want the government telling me whether or not I can own a gun - that’s part of my constitutional right,” said Nelson. “But when assault weapons with huge-capacity magazines are killing our children, then it’s time for America to act.” 

Sheriff Demings said the two assault weapons and the large-capacity gun magazines were confiscated during crimes.

“What we see on the streets of Orange County often, when these weapons show up on the scene, is violence,” said Demings. “They’re not being used in the capacity as a defensive weapon, but in fact, they’re used for offensive purposes by criminals.” 

Nelson told reporters he blames lobbyists from the National Rifle Association for Congress’s failure to renew 1994’s assault weapons ban in 2004, saying the NRA has lost its way. 

“This is a political extremism because an organization that used to represent the average hunters is now representing an economic entity – the gun manufacturer – that want to sell more guns,” said Nelson. “That’s what’s happened to our political system, and that’s what’s got to be changed.”

Nelson said he agrees with the NRA's recommendations to evaluate the parts played by mental health and video game violence in the gun control issue, but said those factors are only pieces of the whole picture.

Nelson also wants to close what’s known as the “gun show loophole,” which he says allows some guns to change hands without a background check.


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