Florida: Land of the free, home of the brave... and cradle of gun insanity. Even though I'm sure most anti-Republican protesters will be sensible enough to resist the temptation, it seems inevitable that at least some of them will try some political theater - you know, like an open-carry rally for liberals? (Not that there's anything wrong with that...) I just don't believe in giving cops excuses for breaking your ribs when they're already so good at just making them up:
TAMPA — If Tampa's proposed rules for the Republican National Convention are passed, protesters could not bring squirt guns into a designated protest zone.
But they could bring real guns if they have concealed weapons permits.
That's because state law does not allow local governments to enact laws regulating guns, City Attorney Jim Shimberg Jr. said.
"Even if we tried to regulate it, it would be null and void," Shimberg said Monday.
Not that the city didn't consider it.
The first draft of Tampa's proposed temporary ordinance laying out rules for the convention did include restrictions on guns inside the city's proposed "Clean Zone," which will cover all of downtown, including a designated protest area.
"It was just kind of common sense," Assistant City Attorney Mauricio Rodriguez said. "We felt if we're going to regulate people carrying sticks and poles, why wouldn't we regulate people carrying firearms, because those could pose significant risks to police and other protesters."
But later, city attorneys removed the ban on guns after finding that Florida Statute 790.33 prohibits local governments from enacting any laws on the sale, purchase, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage or transportation of guns or ammunition.
Passed last year, the state law allows judgments of up to $100,000 against local governments that enforce local gun ordinances. It also says local officials could be removed from office and fined $5,000, with no representation from the city or county attorney.
After the Legislature passed the law, municipalities scrambled to revise local ordinances. Tampa repealed a ban on discharging a firearm in city limits, though it's still against state law.
There is, however, one place where guns won't be allowed.
That's the convention itself, and it's because the U.S. Secret Service has authority to make the rules inside the convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 27-30.