City Council Wants Guns Banned at GOP Convention
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa City Council voted Thursday to ask Gov. Rick Scott to help them ban concealed weapons outside the Republican National Convention.
The council will send a letter to Scott asking him to consult with the Cabinet and legislative leaders on how to address the public safety issue.
"We believe it is necessary and prudent to take this reasonable step to prevent a potential tragedy," council member Lisa Montelione said in the draft letter.
The Florida Legislature passed a law last year preventing cities and counties from passing local gun regulations. Tampa officials want Scott to use his executive power to suspend that law during the Aug. 27-30 convention.
The Secret Service has previously stated that no one but on-duty law enforcement officers will be allowed to carry guns inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the site of the convention. Tampa officials want that ban extended to an area that covers downtown and a few surrounding areas.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he also plans to make a similar request to Scott.
"We look silly in the eyes of the world," Buckhorn said recently.
Buckhorn said it's absurd that the city plans to ban a wide range of weapons and objects that can be used as weapons, including water pistols, but it cannot prohibit guns carried with a concealed weapons permit.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, legal experts have expressed concerns that someone carrying a concealed weapon in the protest area could end up in a confrontation covered by Florida's "stand your ground" law. The 2005 law removes a person's duty to retreat before using lethal force.
Florida law authorizes the governor - in the event of an emergency - to issue executive orders that have the force and effect of law. Those powers include the authority to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives and combustibles.
Scott's press secretary Lane Wright said in email to The Associated Press that Scott is confident the Republican National Committee and the city of Tampa will be able to address this issue. When specifically asked if Scott planned to allow the city to ban guns, Wright didn't immediately reply.
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