Executive Order to Ban Concealed Carry
Rob Houglum LeadLinkMedia.com Friday, April 27, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. -- The many thousands of objectors predicted at the Democratic and Republican state conventions can come fitted out with a lot more than signs and slogans : State law in Florida and North Carolina permits concealed weapons, including guns.
In Tampa, where the RNC will hold its revels this autumn, officials are beginning to worry about folks toting guns in such a politically-charged environment. The City Council voted Thursday to ask Republican Gov. Rick Scott to help them briefly ban hidden firearms. Charlotte officials have not begun to publically express concern, but with both cities attempting to balance public safety with First and Second Modification rights, it's likely the host city for the Democratic convention will also need to deal with the problem.
The Tampa City Council wants Scott to give out an executive order, stopping folks with hidden weapons authorizes from carrying guns.
"We believe it's a necessity and judicious to take this reasonable step to stop a potential tragedy," council member Lisa Montelione claimed in a draft letter to Scott.
Tampa town leaders have recently proposed a host of banned items ( lumber, hatchets, gas masks, chains and "super soaker" water cannons ) - but they're forestalled from outlawing hid guns. Florida and North Carolina have laws prohibiting local officials from pre-empting state gun statutes.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn declared the state law has made the city "look silly," especially because officials can ban water guns but not real ones.
"We're sort 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," declared Mark Newbold, a solicitor with the police office.
Tens of thousands of delegates, journalists and political junkies will stream into the mid scale towns for the multi-day conventions. Republicans hold their event at the Tampa Bay Times Arena during August. 27-30. The Democrats ' party is seven days later at the time Warner Cable Arena. Within the arenas, the Secret Service has banned non combatants from carrying guns.
Both towns have hosted massive gatherings before - Tampa has held 4 Super Bowls and Charlotte has entertained the Atlantic Coast Meeting basketball tournament and the National Rifle Organisation convention - but neither has truly experienced an event like this.
In the last fifty years, political conventions are now a magnet for demonstrators, and they have sometimes turned repulsive.
In 1968, demonstrators attempted to interrupt the Democratic Countrywide Convention in Chicago. Scenes of police clashing with demonstrators on the streets played on TV 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 town hosted the Republican Countrywide Convention. Some demonstrators smashed cars, punctured tires and threw bottles in a clash with pepper-spray using police. Hundreds of people were held over a couple of days.
"Everything we do relies on something that happened at another convention or another national security event," Tampa City Solicitor Jim Shimberg declared.
The central government has given $50 million each to Charlotte and Tampa to help them pay for new security-related gear, training and officer wages.
Tampa is proposing a "Clean Zone" protest area with compact toilets, water, a stage and a mic for demonstrators. Outside that area, people will be allowed to march down an official parade route so long as they have a permit.
The precise location of the protest zones and security perimeter will be decided by the town commission in the approaching weeks.
Joyce Hamilton Henry, the director of the mid-Florida office of the North American Civil Freedoms Union, expounded her organisation is nervous about protests that will be limited to one hour, and a ban on masks.
"We feel it's very impractical, particularly if groups are coming in with enormous numbers," Hamilton Henry declared.
The Tampa Police Dep. is predicted to revolve most of its 1,000-officer force into convention security during the event, which could draw up to 45,000 folk. An additional three thousand officers from other agencies around the state will help.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department plans to add 2,400 to 3,400 officers from outside departments to its force of more than 1,750.
For the convention there, a coalition of groups has formed because they said they're angry the city has refused to share information about where they can gather.
The Coalition to Protest at the DNC has promised to gather without authorizes, and promised a massive demonstration Sept. Two in what they call the The Street of the South.
Charlotte, a town of 760,000 folk, is home to Bank of America Company, one of the country's biggest banks.
"This is something we have to do. They can not stop our right to protest," announced Ben Carroll, a coalition speaker.
Members of the coalition said they're still angry about how police in Feb disbanded an Occupy Charlotte tent city on the grass outside the old City Hall. Protesters had been camped there since October.
The move came one week after Charlotte adopted an incredible event ordinance proscribing political demonstrations before this year's convention. The new rules give police more power to stop and search folk when the convention comes to the city. And folks will not be allowed to carry back-packs and other items in elected areas.
Tags: Second Amendment, 2nd Amendment, Florida Second Amendment