Executive Order to Ban Concealed Carry
Rob Houglum LeadLinkMedia.com Friday, April 27, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. -- The many thousands of objectors anticipated at the Democratic and Republican state conventions can come fitted out with a load more than signs and slogans : State law in Florida and North Carolina allows concealed weapons, including guns.
In Tampa, where the RNC will hold its revelry this autumn, officials are beginning to stress 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 concealed weapons. Charlotte officers haven't begun to publically raise concerns, but with both towns making an attempt to balance public safety with First and Second Amendment rights, it's likely the host town for the Democratic convention will also need to deal with the problem.
The Tampa Town Council wants Scott to issue an executive order, stopping folks with hidden firearms 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 city leaders have just suggested 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 ordinances.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced the state law has made the city "look silly," particularly because officials can ban water guns but not real ones.
"We're kind of constrained by the state law," he claimed.
Charlotte officials also believe they are hamstrung.
"We can't change what the state legislative court has in place," declared Mark Newbold, an attorney with the police department.
Several thousand representatives, journalists and political junkies will stream into the mid-sized towns for the multi-day conventions. Republicans hold their event at the Tampa Bay Times Arena during Aug. 27-30. The Democrats ' party is seven days later at the time Warner Wire Arena. Within the arenas, the Secret Service has banned non combatants from carrying guns.
Both towns have hosted big gatherings before - Tampa has held four Super Bowls and Charlotte has entertained the Atlantic Coast Conference basketball contest and the National Rifle Organisation convention - but neither has really experienced an event like this.
In the last fifty years, political conventions have now become a magnet for objectors, and they have often turned ugly.
In 1968, protesters tried to disrupt the Democratic State Convention in Chicago. Scenes of police clashing with demonstrators on the streets played on telly screens in living rooms across America. 4 years later, anti-war demonstrators disturbed the Republican State Convention in Miami Beach.
More lately, thousands of demonstrators descended on St. Paul, Minn, in 2008, when the city hosted the Republican Countrywide Convention. Some protesters broke vehicles, punctured tires and threw bottles in a showdown with pepper-spray wielding police. Hundreds of folks were captured over one or two days.
"Everything we do is founded upon something that happened at another convention or another nationwide security event," Tampa City Solicitor Jim Shimberg said.
The federal government has given $50 million each to Charlotte and Tampa to help them pay for new security-related gear, coaching and officer incomes.
Tampa is proposing a "Clean Zone" protest area with portable toilets, water, a stage and a mic for protesters. Outside that area, folk will be allowed to march down an official parade route as long as they have a permit.
The precise site of the protest zones and security fringe will be decided by the town commission in the approaching weeks.
Joyce Hamilton Henry, the director of the mid-Florida office of the American Civil Freedoms Union, declared her organisation is worried about protests that'll be restricted to 60 minutes, and a ban on masks.
"We feel it's very impractical, particularly if groups are coming in with enormous numbers," Hamilton Henry related.
The Tampa Police Department is predicted to revolve almost all of its 1,000-officer force into convention security during the event, which could draw up to 45,000 people. An additional three thousand officials 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 town has declined to share information about where they can gather.
The Coalition to Protest at the DNC has threatened to gather without authorizes, and promised a massive demonstration Sept. 2 in what they call the The Street of the South.
Charlotte, a city of 760,000 people, is home to Bank of America Corp, one of the nation's largest banks.
"This is a thing we have to do. They cannot stop our right to protest," said Ben Carroll, a coalition spokesperson.
Members of the coalition recounted they're still irritated about how police in Feb disbanded an Occupy Charlotte tent city on the turf outside of the old City Hall. Protesters had been camped there since October.
The move came one week after Charlotte adopted an extraordinary event ordinance proscribing political demonstrations before this year's convention. The new rules give police more power to stop and search people when the convention comes to the city. And people will not be permitted to carry back-packs and other items in chosen areas.
Tags: Second Amendment, 2nd Amendment, Florida Second Amendment