If Florida was looking for some feel good press following the national saturation of news in the wake of the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, this probably isn’t what they were looking for. In fact, it’s safe to say that Florida is slowly replacing Texas as the chagrined laughingstock of the country and prime place for European mocking.
The Republican party’s decision to hold its convention in Tampa, Florida appears to have presented the party with a greater problem than Mitt Romney, as it seems that lax gun law allows protestors to carry guns. So you can probably expect Ron paul supporters to not only shout and scream “End the Fed” and “Don’t Tread on Me,” but shoot into Ayn Rand’s sky of liberty as the do it.
In an effort to ward off the obvious calamity of allowing dyspeptic Republican voters (the only kind) and violent protestors to carry guns at the Republican National Convention, Tampa’s Mayor Bob Buckhorn has proposed a plethora of items that will be considered security threats during the week-long event. According to Tampa Bay Online , the list includes air pistols and water pistols and, oddly enough, string more than six inches long. Evidently Tampa is weary of ex-KGB. Yet conspicuously absent from the list of banned items is firearms. So just to reiterate, inches of string are bad, metal pieces of murderous rampage are good.
It seems the banning of guns would directly be in breach of state laws, which evidently ban local governments from placing any restrictions on the carrying of guns in public spaces.
“If we’d tried to regulate guns, it wouldn’t have worked,” said City Attorney Jim Shimberg. (Source: Tampa Bay Online)
The security nightmare of hand gun permissibility did include restrictions on guns inside the city’s proposed “Clean Zone,” which will cover all of downtown, including a designated protest area.
“It was just kind of common sense,” Assistant City Attorney Mauricio Rodriguez said. “We felt if we’re going to regulate people carrying sticks and poles, why wouldn’t we regulate people carrying firearms, because those could pose significant risks to police and other protesters.” (Source: Tampa Bay Times)
Captain Obvious would agree, but….
It seems city attorneys removed the ban on guns after finding that Florida Statute 790.33 prohibits local governments from enacting any laws on the sale, purchase, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage or transportation of guns or ammunition, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Ridiculously moronic gun laws seemingly written by Ted Nugent notwithstanding, the Secret Service will still be able to ban guns in a smaller “security zone” surrounding the convention site itself. And sorry Paulbots, but there’s no violation of the Second Amendment. As Justice Scalia explained in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Constitution does not limit “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.” Certainly, a convention that includes a major party’s presidential nominee and a significant percentage of the nation’s elected officials should qualify as such a “sensitive place.” (Source: Think Progress)
Wesley Chapel gun-control advocate Arthur Hayhoe feels the exemption is yet another example of the NRA dictating Florida’s Legislature. Hayhoe also noted, as anyone who has ever seen a tea party protest, that the love of carrying guns is mostly a Republican thing anyway.
“You’re going to get a lot of upset people,”Hayhoe said of protesters. “But I don’t think that many of the people at that end of the spectrum carry guns anyway. This is a Republican thing.” (Source: Tampa Bay Online)
Again, it’s safe to assume that Captain Obvious would agree.
The city council will wholly address the protester restrictions when it meets at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Michael is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire, who co-wrote an award-nominated comedy, produces a chapter of Laughing Liberally, wrote for NY Times Laugh Lines, guest-blogged for Joe Biden, and writes a column for MSNBC.com affiliated Cagle Media. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, Youtube, and like NJ Laughing Liberally Lab. Seriously, follow him or he’ll send you a photo of Rush Limbaugh bending over in a thong.