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GOP National Convention in Tampa: There Will Be Guns

| May 4, 2012

The elephants in the room. (© FlaglerLive)

Fred Grimm put it acidly in a piece for the Miami Herald Wednesday: “Mindful of the “potentially contentious environment” that comes with so many overwrought protesters converging on a national political convention, the city of Tampa has banned a number of items the last four days of August. Don’t come messing around the Republican National Convention with an ‘air rifle, air pistol, paintball rifle, explosive blasting cap, switchblade, hatchet, ax, slingshot, blackjack, metal knuckles, nunchakus, mace, iron buckle, ax handle, chain, crowbar, hammer, shovel or any club or bludgeon.’ All this along with ‘any other instrumentality used or intended to be used to cause physical or personal damage.’ Except, of course, for the most obvious instrument intended to cause physical or personal damage. The city didn’t prohibit guns. It can’t.”

Gov. Rick Scott has stuck to his guns on, well, guns as he declined a request from Tampa’s mayor to ban firearms from the city’s downtown for the Republican National Convention Aug. 27-30.

Responding to a May 1 request by Mayor Bob Buckhorn to temporarily suspend Florida statutes prohibiting local gun laws stricter than the state’s, Scott said conventions and firearms go way back and he found no reason to change that now.

“You note that the city’s temporary (security) ordinance regulates ‘sticks, poles, and water guns,’ but that firearms are a ‘noticeable item missing from the city’s temporary, ordinance,” Scott said in a letter. “Firearms are noticeably included, however, in the Second Amendment.”

The Tampa convention is a national security event. Guns are prohibited within the convention center itself and in a safe zone immediately surrounding the facility. Security for that venue is the responsibility of the U.S. Secret Service.

In 2011, Florida lawmakers approved a measure prohibiting local governments from enacting and enforcing gun ordinances that were stricter than state law. Scott signed the measure, which sent local governments scurrying to remove local restrictions that ran afoul of the new law.

Tampa city officials have been urging the governor to temporarily suspend the state law so that a wider no-gun perimeter could be established in downtown Tampa, including areas that will be used by protestors during the four-day event that begins Aug. 27.

The request comes as Florida finds itself in the spotlight following the death in February of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black teenager who was shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford. The shooting has sparked a national debate of the state’s ‘stand your ground’ law, but the debate has spilled over into other issues regarding gun ownership. More than 800,000 Floridians have permits to carry concealed weapons.

Buckhorn, a gun owner who has a concealed weapons permit, said he’s not worried about law abiding citizens with concealed weapons permits but those who may choose to bring guns into the venue who have not been vetted, or may be carrying their weapons illegally.

Buckhorn said the governor would be within his rights to temporarily rescind the state law, adding that the safety of citizens and visitors during the four-day event would be enhanced. Scott, however, said political conventions through the ages have been opportunities for citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights. He saw no reason to curtail the protections offered by the Second Amendment to ensure the rights bestowed under the First.

“Our fundamental right to keep and bear arms has coexisted with those freedoms for as long, and I see no reason to depart from that tradition this year,” Scott concluded.

–Michael Peltier, News Service of Florida and FlaglerLive

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21 Responses for “GOP National Convention in Tampa: There Will Be Guns”

  1. B.Claire says:

    Leaking out today, in advance of debut at the GOP Convention….

    design for a GOP Oval Office:

    [ After all, they paid for it…it only seems right ]

  2. Some guy says:

    [Some guy, please quit misusing the comments by attempting to post items that amount to nothing more than a period, for who knows what reason. You’ve been doing that quite a bit. When you quit playing such games and wasting our time, we might resume approving your more legitimate comments. Thanks.Fl]

  3. JR says:

    As the mayor noted, law-abiding gun owners won’t, as usual, be a problem. Than he doesn’t need the governor to do anything. Simply enforce the existing law. “[Those who] may be carrying illegally,” is who the mayor is said to be concerned about. And rightfully so, at ALL times those people will be outside of the law, but choosing now to place stricter restrictions on the law-followers, because of the potential law-breakers, doesn’t do anything. Because, as the mayor himself said, people who are legally carrying guns aren’t a major concern. The fact that the are of downtown Tampa would then be a “gun free zone” (or infringing on the second amendment of the constitution) is of no consequence to the illegal gun carriers — they are already in possession of the gun illegally. Does the mayor really think that these people will wake up and say; gee, before it was only one (or however many) laws I was breaking, but now, since it will be one more law I’m breaking, I’ll leave my gun at home? Ludicrous.

  4. Anita says:

    What irony! You gun advocates are a hoot. You want your Second Amendment rights upheld, just not during a Republican convention where some gun toter could ‘lose it’ and shoot a fellow delegate. Not in the convention hall? Aren’t all Republican and Tea Party delegates law-abiding, upstanding and responsible citizens?

    I’m just in awe of the hypocrisy because, realize it or not, you are using the same arguments gun control advocates use when discussing the near exponential increase of gun violence on the streets of America. How does it feel knowing that you could get ‘WHACKED’ by one of your own, disputing a parking place or mistaking the number on the door of your hotel room.

    And as for the Governor, this may be the only time you’ll ever read my agreement with something he’s said, insane as it may be. “Scott, however, said political conventions through the ages have been opportunities for citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights. He saw no reason to curtail the protections offered by the Second Amendment to ensure the rights bestowed under the First.”

    He’s both right and wrong at the same time; right in his analysis of the logic and wrong in his inability to see a potential problem. That guy’s more talented than I thought. Good Luck at your convention, delegates, and remember not to threaten or to piss anybody off.

  5. Liana G says:

    The public may very well see a full-fledged public display of “stand your ground” John Wayne style. I plan to watch just so I can see Ron Paul in action. Please Dr. Paul, wear body armour. We want YOU in the White House.

  6. Binkey says:

    Why do so many people feel the need to carry a gun?

  7. Bob Greer says:

    So much Bull in such a little space. Do you EVER bother to research the subject that you write about? Maybe you need to change your paper’s banner to “All Bull, All the Time”.
    1. The law prohibiting local governments from violating state laws concerning restricting firearms was passed 25 YEARS AGO. The PERSONAL PENALTIES for violating state law is what the Governor signed recently and is what has the criminals in local commissions and councils scurrying to remove local restrictions.
    2. Re Trayvon; The SYG law does NOT give a person the authority to shoot anyone he feels like choosing, without cause. It ONLY says that a person who is in a place that they can legally be and doing legal things has NO DUTY TO RETREAT from deadly danger BEFORE they can defend themselves. The standard of deadly danger HAS NOT CHANGED. It simply codifies existing precedent and prevents effectively removes the media seeking Prosecutors from persecuting innocent victims for the self-promotion of the prosecutor.
    3. Buckhorn is an elitist and a DEMOCRAT who is seeking to restrict the rights and liberties of the LAW ABIDING. The restrictions he proposes would do NOTHING to keep criminals (you know, those people who DO NOT OBEY THE LAW !!!) from violating them.
    The laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants. People who will do you harm DO NOT CARE how many laws they violate. Laws only restrain those who are willing to abide by them and give you a legal mechanism to prosecute people who do a certain type of prohibited action. That puts the ‘Law-Abiding’ at the disadvantage. Criminals, by definition, are law-breakers. They have no regard for the law in the first place, so another law would mean very little to them. What it would instead do, is turn law-abiding citizens into much easier targets for criminals.
    If a person is intent on causing harm to another person, do you REALLY think an invisible line on the ground will cause him to turn around, go back to his car, put his guns up, and then go continue to cause harm to another person? If a person is intent on causing harm to another person, do you REALLY think they will care about the punishments for stepping over that arbitrary line with their firearm/weapon? If a person is intent on causing harm to another person, do you REALLY think disarming those intended victims is the best way to go about seeing to their safety? Laws which make certain places illegal to carry a firearm don’t mean spit to the criminal and put the Citizen in peril. Criminals respect guns, not laws. Forcible disarmament of a given population is no guarantee that someone who doesn’t adhere to the law/security procedures won’t slip through the net. But it IS a guarantee that those who abide by the law/security procedures will be unarmed in the face of a deadly assault.
    Those who have no regard for human life also have no regard for any rules you place in front of them. Those who do concern themselves with being good people and following rules are the only ones that laws disarm, and those are the very people who could stop these kinds of happenings.

  8. B. Claire says:


    The urge is rooted in what psychologists call “compensation.”

    • Jarhead1982 says:

      It appears mankinds search for the missing link in the evolutionairy chain between simple primates (chimpanzee) to man (homosapien) has made themself known.

      They apparently have some level of intelligence, and even opposable thumbs. 

But just like lower primates, are unable to grasp or process emotions in a human, much less adult fashion. 

      These anti gun extremists, which represent the aforementioned missing link, have a rather entertaining habit of slinging insults and lies, just like chimpanzees fling poo.

 Or in this case, indidivuals with a deep seated homophobic fear and or projection of their own feeble wee wee.

      These missing links always seem to believe that everyone else should be just as scared as they are.

      You can see this inability to control their emotions in any documentary on lower primates, seeing how one gets afraid and stampedes the other family members of lower primates into a frenzy, something biologists have known for years.

      Their brains just arent developed enough to comprehend how developed intellects can control and overcome their emotions to recognize facts, and actually apply that as the decision making process for a solution to a problem.

      Or it could be evidence of devolving, as like the Romans, who sweetened their wine with lead, the progressive mind set has been drinking that prozac/lsd laced kool-aide for several decades now, and shows mental symptoms similar to chronic lead poisoning in their actions.

      We highly suggest such individuals like considerwhat submit themselves for testing and treatment so that they can rejoin the public in a safe fashion, or prove that the missing link truly exists.

      When you quit screaming ka ka straw man homophobic arguements like a little girl, you will get a civil response, until then, see ya missing link!

    • Jarhead1982 says:

      Past experience with gun control leaders such as Annette “Flirty” Stevens (Illinois Million Mom March president caught with drugs and a de-serialized handgun), Sheila Eccleston (Mothers Against Violence, imprisoned for possessing a sawed-off shotgun), James Kelly (Seattle Urban League anti-gunner caught brandishing a handgun during an argument), Bart Stupak (champion of mandatory federal trigger locks whose son later committed suicide with dad’s unlocked gun), and Barbara Graham (DC Million Mom March activist convicted of a revenge shooting of an innocent person who HADN’T killed her son) suggests that frustrated gun control activists tend to go out with a bang rather than a whimper.

      The moral is, if you ever happen to come across Dennis Henigan, and few remaining anti gun extremists of this world take cover. You don’t want to be at Ground Zero when they go postal and its not a matter of if, its a matter of when!

      • Liana G says:

        Don’t forget those individuals who whould do harm just for the notoriety. Did we not have a few presidents who were shot at by ordinary folks? Then there is Gabrielle Gifford, and John Lennon. The US is well known for using extreme measures to eliminate the political competition in other countries hostile to their agenda. No surprise if this rubs off on the US citizenry. We do have extremes on both sides. Always have had. Always will.

        @elaygee who says

        “Only if they bury him alive in the Rose Garden, face down so he can’t claw his way out?”

        Minorities have fared the worst under Obama’s presidency (I personally do like him, just not his party’s policies). I’d be a fool to vote for him even if Dr Paul wasn’t in the race. This is my 1st year voting in a presidential election. If Dr Paul name doesn’t get on the ballot. I will sit this one out.

        • Jarhead1982 says:

          You mean that looney toon in AZ who the local sheriff had what, 4 or 5 opportunities to press charges on before the Giffords shooting? Guess death threats arent a felony charge when your connected to the political party/sheriff eh? Besides, Loughner lied on his 4473 form, yet the BATF didnt catch him, such a recurring trend. They NEVER catch ANYONE using a fake identification for a background check either.

          That doctor who failed to notify the authorities of Cho, the 9 army officers who were disciplined by military tribunal for failing to act on the FT Hood shooter. All those failures by the GOVERNMENT, such a recurring trend.

          You know that the BATF/Government, refuses to prosecute more than 1% of the 930,000 felons they stopped from buying from a licensed source since 1994?

          You know that over 95% of felons dont even attempt to buy from a licensed source to begin with?

          You know that 750,000 others were rejected and include those crazies you are talking about, but they werent locked up or prosecuted either. But hey, the NRA is in charge of the government mental health system, oh wait, the government doesnt have a mental health system, thats right.

    • Derek Scammon says:

      Right, that’s why the hottest selling defensive firearms get smaller every year. I’ve got a little package, I’d better compensate by carrying an even tinier gun!

      Actually, I think Mr. Freud was a quack, but what he said about weapons is that a fear of weapons is a sign of sexual inadequacy. Kind of the opposite of what you’re claiming, eh?

  9. brenton adams says:


  10. Christie 2012 says:

    Maybe the governor should suspend the protester first amendment right to assemble and make them gather on some farm land on the west side of the city. Why should business owners in the downtown area have their property destroyed by these idiots. Look what happened in Minnesota during the GOP convention four year ago.Things will only be worse this year because we have a President that encourages this type of behavior.

  11. Binkey says:

    Common Sense,

    I’ve owned guns but I have lived 50 years and never had the need to use a gun and have never had a situation where I thought, boy if only I were carrying my gun with me. I’m not anti guns. I really wonder why people feel the need to carry them.

    Do they live in fear? Is it bravado? Do you carry yours or is it at your house?

    PS I’ve used a fire extinguisher several times.

  12. rickg says:

    Once again the 2nd Amendment is deemed more important than the 1st or 4th. Heaven forbid we should have a firearm free zone. Do you really think a weapon is needed all of the time. Especially with the security that will be shrouded around the Convention Center.

    • Bob says:

      I don’t carry a gun because I want to shoot someone, I carry a gun because if I’m attacked, I don’t want to have to beat them to death with just any ole rock that I found on the side of the road. I’m just a humanitarian that way…

      I don’t wait to put on my seat-belt until I see an accident about to happen, and I don’t wait until I actually HAVE a flat time to purchase a spare. So WHY do you want me to be unprepared for a LIFE THREATENING encounter to NEED a tool in my hand that is absolutely worthless sitting in my home safe?!? A gun definitely isn’t a guarantee, but it’s at least a decent chance, especially if I have practiced with it as I should.

      Violence does not erupt on schedule, and criminals do not make appointments in advance. And when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away. Waiting for a cop to come save you could take the rest of your life. The average response time of a 911 call is 23 minutes; the response time of a .357 magnum is 1400 feet per second.

      Your choice to live or die, I don’t care. BUT…. you WILL NOT restrict MY choice.

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