Republican mayor calls for his city to ban assault weapons because 'my prayers aren’t working’

Clark Mindock

The Republican mayor of a Florida city is calling on Congress to take action on strong gun control measures, saying that thoughts and prayers just aren’t cutting it when it comes to America’s gun violence epidemic.

George Cretekos urged his fellow city council members in Clearwater to pass a resolution which would represent a potent message in a state known for its fidelity to the National Rifle Association.

“I’ve gone to church, I’ve prayed,” Mr Cretekos said this week, referencing a common refrain after mass shootings in which politicians offer “thoughts and prayers” for victims, but stop short of taking any practical measures to prevent future shootings.

“My prayers aren’t working,” he continued, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida state law prohibits cities from enacting their own firearms regulations, but Mr Cretekos’s resolution would send a symbolic message to Congress that it should move to ban assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines, to pass a national “red flag” law, and to expand background checks so they can cover private sales.

“In the past, council and I have stayed away from national issues,” Mr Cretenkos said. “But I think this issue is something that we need to consider to let people know where we stand as a community to encourage safety.”

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Florida is the state in which two of the most deadly mass shootings in recent years have occurred, having drawn national attention after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Seventeen people were killed in Parkland by an expelled former student in February 2018, while 49 people were killed and more than 50 wounded at the Pulse nightclub in June 2016.

Mr Cretenkos’s call for action is significant not only because of the state he lives in, though, but also because of his standing as a Republican.

In the past, Republican leaders and politicians in Washington including Donald Trump have reacted to shootings by proposing modest gun control measures, but have yet to make good on those promises.

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It is unclear if Mr Cretenkos’s resolution will be passed in the Tampa Bay area city.

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