Executive Order to Ban Concealed Carry
Rob Houglum LeadLinkMedia.com Friday, April 27, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. -- The many thousands of demonstrators expected at the Democratic and Republican nationwide conventions can come supplied with a load more than signs and slogans : State law in Florida and North Carolina permits hidden firearms, including guns.
In Tampa, where the RNC will hold its revelry this fall, officials are beginning to stress about people toting guns in such a politically-charged environment. The Town Council voted Thursday to ask Republican Gov. Rick Scott to help them temporarily ban concealed weapons. Charlotte officials have not begun to publically express concern, but with both towns trying to balance public safety with First and Second Amendment rights, it's likely the host city for the Democratic convention will additionally have to fix the problem.
The Tampa City Council wants Scott to issue an executive order, forestalling folks with hidden weapons authorizes from carrying guns.
"We believe it's necessary and provident to take this reasonable step to stop a potential tragedy," council member Lisa Montelione asserted in a draft letter to Scott.
Tampa town leaders have already proposed a large number of banned items ( lumber, hatchets, gas masks, chains and "super soaker" water cannons ) - but they're stopped from outlawing hid guns. Florida and North Carolina have laws prohibiting local officers from pre-empting state gun statutes.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced the state law has made the town "look silly," particularly because officers can ban water guns but not real ones.
"We're kind of constrained by the state law," he announced.
Charlotte officials also believe they're hamstrung.
"We can't change what the state legislative court has in place," said Mark Newbold, a solicitor with the police dept.
Tens of thousands of representatives, journalists and political junkies will stream into the medium sized cities for the multi-day conventions. Republicans hold their event at the Tampa Bay Times Arena during Aug. 27-30. The Left wingers ' party is 7 days later at the Time Warner Wire Arena. Within the arenas, the Secret Service has banned non combatants from carrying guns.
Both cities have hosted massive gatherings before - Tampa has held 4 Super Bowls and Charlotte has entertained the Atlantic Coast Meeting basketball tournament and the Nation's Rifle Organisation convention - but neither has actually experienced an event such as this.
In the last 50 years, political conventions have become a magnet for protesters, and they have infrequently turned repulsive.
In 1968, protesters attempted to interrupt the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Scenes of police clashing with objectors on the streets played on telly screens in living rooms across America. 4 years on, anti-war demonstrators interrupted the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach.
More lately, thousands of objectors descended on St. Paul, Minn, in 2008, when the city hosted the Republican Countrywide Convention. Some demonstrators broke cars, punctured tires and threw bottles in a showdown with pepper-spray using police. Hundreds of folk were captured over one or two days.
"Everything we do is founded upon something that happened at another convention or another state security event," Tampa City Lawyer Jim Shimberg said.
The central government has given $50 million each to Charlotte and Tampa to help them pay for new security-related apparatus, training and officer incomes.
Tampa is proposing a "Clean Sector" protest area with compact toilets, water, a stage and a mike for protesters. Outside that area, folk will be allowed to march down an official parade route so long as they've a permit.
The exact location of the protest sectors and security perimeter will be decided by the city commission in the approaching weeks.
Joyce Hamilton Henry, the director of the mid-Florida office of the North American Civil Freedoms Union, said her organisation is nervous about protests that'll be limited to 1 hour, and a ban on masks.
"We feel it's totally unrealistic, especially if groups are coming in with large numbers," Hamilton Henry declared.
The Tampa Police Office is anticipated to revolve almost all of its 1,000-officer force into convention security in the event, which could draw up to 45,000 folks. A further 3,000 officials from other agencies round the state will help.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept plans to add 2,400 to 3,400 officials from outside departments to its force of more than 1,750.
For the convention there, a coalition of groups has formed because they revealed they're indignant the town has declined to share information about where they can gather.
The Coalition to Protest at the DNC has threatened to gather without allows, and guaranteed a great demonstration Sept. Two in what they call the Wall Street of the South.
Charlotte, a town of 760,000 people, is home to Bank of America Corp, one of the state's largest banks.
"This is a thing we have to do. They cannot stop our right to protest," announced Ben Carroll, a coalition speaker.
Members of the coalition recounted they are still irritated about how police in February disbanded an Occupy Charlotte tent town on the grass outside of the old Town Hall. Demonstrators had been camped there since October.
The move came one week after Charlotte adopted an extraordinary event ordinance restricting political demonstrations before this year's convention. The new rules give police more power to stop and search people when the convention comes to town. And people will not be permitted to carry back packs and other items in elected areas.
Tags: Second Amendment, 2nd Amendment, Florida Second Amendment