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 nationwide conventions can come fitted out with a lot 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 revels this fall, officials are beginning to stress about folks toting guns in such a politically-charged environment. The Town Council voted Thursday to ask Republican Gov. Rick Scott to help them briefly ban concealed weapons. Charlotte officers haven't begun to publically voice concern, but with both towns making an attempt to balance public safety with First and 2nd Change rights, it's likely the host town for the Democratic convention will additionally have to deal with the problem.
The Tampa City Council wants Scott to distibute an executive order, preventing folks with hidden weapons permits from carrying guns.
"We believe it is necessary and prudent to take this reasonable step to stop a potential tragedy," council member Lisa Montelione said in a draft letter to Scott.
Tampa city leaders have just suggested a number of banned items ( lumber, hatchets, gas masks, chains and "super soaker" water cannons ) - but they are stopped from outlawing concealed guns. Florida and North Carolina have laws prohibiting local officials from pre-empting state gun principles.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn declared the state law has made the city "look silly," especially because officials can ban water guns although not real ones.
"We're sort of constrained by the state law," he said.
Charlotte officers also believe they're hamstrung.
"We can't change what the state legislative council has in place," said Mark Newbold, an attorney with the police dept.
Tens of thousands of delegates, writers 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 7 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 truly experienced an event like this.
In the last fifty years, political conventions are now a magnet for objectors, and they have sometimes turned ugly.
In 1968, protesters tried to disrupt the Democratic State Convention in Chicago. Scenes of police clashing with protesters on the streets played on telly screens in living rooms across America. Four years after, anti-war demonstrators disrupted the Republican State 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 protesters broke automobiles, punctured tires and threw bottles in a showdown with pepper-spray using police. Hundreds of folks were arrested over a couple of days.
"Everything we do is founded upon something that occurred at another convention or another state security event," Tampa Town Solicitor Jim Shimberg declared.
The federal government has given $50 million each to Charlotte and Tampa to help them pay for new security-related apparatus, training and officer wages.
Tampa is proposing a "Clean Section" protest area with portable toilets, water, a stage and a mike for demonstrators. Outside that area, people will be allowed to march down an official parade route as long as they've a permit.
The precise position of the protest areas and security perimeter will be decided by the town commission in the coming weeks.
Joyce Hamilton Henry, the director of the mid-Florida office of the American Civil Freedoms Union, declared her organization is worried about protests that will be restricted to one hour, and a ban on masks.
"We feel it is extremely impractical, especially if groups are coming in with giant numbers," Hamilton Henry declared.
The Tampa Police Department is anticipated to revolve the majority of its 1,000-officer force into convention security in the event, which could draw up to 45,000 folks. A further three thousand officers from other agencies round the state will help.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept 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 announced they are indignant the city has refused to share info regarding where they can gather.
The Coalition to Protest at the DNC has threatened to gather without authorizes, and promised an enormous demonstration Sept. Two in what they call the The Street of the South.
Charlotte, a city of 760,000 folk, is home to B. O. A Corp, one of the country's biggest banks.
"This is something we have to do. They cannot stop our right to protest," declared Ben Carroll, a coalition spokesperson.
Members of the coalition related they are still irritated about how police in February disbanded an Occupy Charlotte tent town on the grass outside the old City Hall. Objectors had been camped there since October.
The move came one week after Charlotte adopted an extraordinary event ordinance restricting political demonstrations ahead of this year's convention. The new rules give police more power to stop and search folk when the convention comes to the city. And people won't be permitted to carry back-packs and other items in chosen areas.
Tags: Second Amendment, 2nd Amendment, Florida Second Amendment