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Florida Law Means You Can Pack Heat at the RNC

Do you have your tickets yet? That’s right, the Republican National Convention’s set for Tampa in late August. And Tampa in late August is just lovely. But don’t worry if you’re not a voting delegate with a ticket. There will be plenty of action outside the convention. After all, there’s so much to protest . . .

Let’s see, there’s climate change, the war in Afghanistan, Wal Mart, capitalism, the military industrial complex, globalization, Wal Mart, Zionism, the international financial system, patriarchy, big oil, Wal Mart and the latest firing of Keith Olbermann (the GOP had to have been behind that somehow.) Or maybe you’ll be there counter protesting, keeping the other protestors honest. In any case, whatever your cause may be, you’ll be able to stand in designated areas and air your grievances til you’re hoarse, of course. Or until the TV cameras go away, whichever comes first.

Just one restriction: you won’t be able to carry anything that can be thrown or used against any of the thousands of coppers who’ll be on patrol to keep the peace. But your concealed carry handgun will still be welcomed.

Not that Tampa’s mayor, Bob Buckhorn, is happy about it. The city government passed a temporary ordinance to, as puts it, keep “protestors or anyone else from carrying practically anything that could be used as a weapon or as defense against police tear gas, including shields and gas masks.”

The Tampa City Attorney intended to include on the list the most obvious weapon of all, until he was reminded of a state law that makes it illegal for local governments to enact gun restrictions.

“The legislature in it’s wisdom was right to put a statute like that in,” said NRA member and gun advocate Bill Bunting.

Oops. Seems Florida’s preemption law won’t let Mayor Bob take away anyone’s guns. Not even on a temporary basis. Not legally anyway.

No, the only people at the convention that will be able to stand between you and your gun is the Secret Service. They’re not going to allow anyone with a heater inside the security perimeter immediately around the convention center.

So smoke ’em if you got ’em. And tote ’em if you’re licensed. But only if you’re licensed because while there are some who say that Florida’s a virtual thunderdome of permissive gun laws, open carry isn’t one of them.


  1. avatar JR says:

    The city government passed a temporary ordinance to, as puts it, keep “protestors or anyone else from carrying practically anything that could be used as a weapon OR AS A DEFENSE AGAINST POLICE TEAR GAS, INCLUDING SHIELDS AND GAS MASKS.”

    Now THAT’s scary.

    1. avatar Henry Bowman says:

      ABSOLUTELY! Certainly explains why Mayor Wannabe-Tyrant desired to inlcude firearms in the prohibition, them being a highly effective deterent to police brutality.

    2. Ya they should avoid using the term defense in that context. That implies that the police are the would be aggressors…

      1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        Rare honesty from someone in a position of power, perhaps?

  2. avatar Chas says:

    OMG!! OMG!!! Republicans carrying firearms at the RNC!! OMG!! OMG!!!

    1. avatar gej88 says:

      Who said anything about just the Republicans? I know a lot of Dems and left of center independents who have guns, including me. Some have CCWs. Some might be there.

  3. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I realize and fully understand that it is legal to carry outside the convention hall, but………

    Do you guys think that it will prevent you from being arrested anyway? The police can lock up someone for at least 24 hours before “admitting” their mistake which still gets John Q. Public and his legal concealed weapon off the street. I wouldn’t be brave enough to try it, and with the troubles in FL right now, I don’t think I would want to be there in any capacity and risk getting caught in the cross fire of a likely race riot.

    1. avatar Bruce W. Krafft says:

      Arrested Joe? Try proned out with a cop kneeling on your head, two on your back and one on each leg as they handcuff you so tightly that you get bone bruises. At least that’s what happened to a guy I know here in MN when he tried to lawfully carry 3/4 of a mile from the Convention Center!!!

      As for the Secret Service, does it bother anyone else that they are not a legislative body and have no authority to overrule local laws but that doesn’t stop them anyway? I know; guy with Uzis make the rules but it is still deprivation of civil rights under color of law or authority.

      1. avatar Aaron says:

        Full agreement… I call the bubble that surrounds the President and these ridiculous political gatherings as “temporary abrogation of rights zones”

      2. avatar Tom says:

        Wait until you get to the private plane restrictions.

        1. avatar Aaron says:

          I’m in the Civil Air Patrol… we were talking about restricted areas and TFRs earlier this evening.

  4. avatar GS650G says:

    Will Al Sharpton be broadcasting his show from the sidewalk with a bullhorn?

    1. avatar APBTFan says:

      If it gets him camera time? You bet your sweet bippy he’ll be there.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      Will Al Sharpton be broadcasting his show from the sidewalk with a bullhorn?

      No, he’s anchoring for PMSNBC.

  5. avatar Sanchanim says:

    Wow.. Ok double wow..
    I mean I believe in the right to carry if you are legal, fine. At the same time though I would have to say you will be thrown in the poky if they see you. Regardless of what you look like.

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      Yes you will, but only because of the fact that you cannot have an unconcealed handgun in public in any part of FL at anytime. Unless Superman will be there using his x-ray vision how are they supposed to see your concealed handgun?

      1. avatar SubVet says:

        Not true MadDawg – you may openly carry when lawfully going to/participating in/returning from any camping, fishing, or hunting activity or the target range.

        1. avatar MadDawg J says:

          Totally correct, but unless you plan on claiming you are camping or fishing at the convention hall I would not really consider those places “to be in public”. (i.e. downtown Tampa compared to a KOA campsite, so that is why I left that out)

  6. avatar Joseph says:

    The Secret Service will do what they want, when they want, and how they want. If you don’t believe it, head on over to Florida for the convention with your gun. Then send a post on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    I have a Florida CCW license, I’m a retired lawyer with time on my hands, and I just might get it into my head to take a little vaycay in the Sunshine State during the convention.

    Stay tuned.

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      Assuming the house closings get done, I’ll have a guest bedroom on the St. Pete peninsula you can use and a full 1080p camera to record events at the RNC.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Dawg, we might be on to something here.

  8. avatar Roadrunner says:

    Wow! Now we have the motivation for why Sharpton, Jackson, Obama, and their little helpers have taken such a curious, focused interest in the Martin-Zimmerman case. It’s right down the road from the Republican convention in an election year. No need to worry about the facts, or the body count. All they needed was a little kerosene and a little kindling to fan into flame over the summer.

    Clever, and disgusting.

    1. avatar bontai Joe says:

      I really didn’t put it together until this week, but yeah, I fear you are absolutely correct and that we are gonna see a summer of violence and mayhem, that will make the Rodney King riots seem like a Sunday picnic. I sure am glad that I am no where near Florida and have no plans to be in the neighborhood this year.

  9. avatar Paul says:

    Anybody recall the Battle at Athens TN 1946?

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      A great story. for those not in the know.

    2. avatar Bruce W. Krafft says:

      Well I’m not quite that old, so I don’t “recall” it, but I’ve read about it. As far as I’m concerned that story should be required reading for every high-school civics class across the country.

  10. avatar NCG says:

    Republicans should put their asses where there mouths are (some would argue they’ve already done that), and let people carry at the convention.

  11. avatar Crow says:

    Tampa in August? Seriously? I wouldn’t have planned that…

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