Police: Leave guns at home for St. Pete Pride

- The St. Petersburg Police Department wants gun owners to leave their firearms at home during this weekend’s Pride Parade and festivities.

“This is an event where there's a lot of alcohol and a big crowd, and it makes sense for people to leave their firearms at home,” said spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez.

“The advice is... 'see something, say something,'” said St. Pete Pride Executive Director Eric Skains. 

But in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, and other attacks like it, some gun owners say they feel safest when they can protect themselves.

Members of Florida Carry told the Tampa Bay Times: “The police chief has absolutely zero authority to control whether people are lawfully in possession of concealed firearms... that is their right.”

And police don't disagree.

“If you have a concealed weapons permit, you can carry your gun. That's your choice,” said Fernandez.

Meanwhile, final preparations for the event are underway. The Pride flag raised at St. Petersburg City Hall Thursday.

“This parade and the events this weekend will have more security than we've had at any pride event ever,” said Mayor Rick Kriseman.

Several police agencies will be on hand, as well as a bevy of high-tech surveillance equipment. Organizers expect attendance this year could surpass 350,000.

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