How ridiculous are Florida’s gun laws? An editorial in the April 5 New York Times provides a great example.
The city of Tampa will host the Republican National Convention in August and is hard at work preparing for the event. Security is a top concern. But there’s a hitch, brought about by a new state law passed just last year. The law ended local gun controls and prohibits any city from enacting or enforcing laws on the sale, possession, or use of firearms. As a result, although the city wants to ban firearms outside the convention center, a logical security move, it cannot do so without violating state law and incurring a $100,000 fine. The law also says local officials can be removed from office and fined $5,000, with no representation from the city or county attorney.
The editorial explains:
The City Council is sensibly preparing tight security precautions for the downtown area by temporarily banning clubs, hatchets, switchblades, pepper spray, slingshots, chains, shovels and all manner of guns that shoot water, paint or air.
But not handguns that shoot actual bullets. In other words, someone outside the convention hall will be entitled to pack a handgun, but not a squirt gun.
The city plans to implement the following bans during the convention:
• Citywide, there would be a ban on carrying pieces of wood, hard tubes or anything else that could be used as a club, as well as water guns, super soakers, air guns, paintball guns, explosives, switchblades, hatchets, slingshots, brass knuckles, Mace, chains, crowbars, hammers, shovels, or any container containing urine, fecal matter or other bodily fluid.
• In the Clean Zone, the ban would be expanded to prohibit ropes, straps, tape or string longer than 6 inches, glass containers, ceramic vessels, light bulbs, padlocks and bicycle locks, things that could be used as portable shields and gas masks.
• Inside the protest area, the ban would be expanded still further to prohibit aerosol cans, camping gear, coolers and ice chests, fireworks, lasers, bottles, cans, thermoses, sticks, poles, ladders and umbrellas with metal tips.
Certainly an abundance of caution. And yet with the proper permits, real guns with real bullets will still be allowed. Florida’s gun laws are seriously, seriously out of whack. Apparently the gun lobby owns the Florida legislature — lock, stock, and gun barrel.
- GOP Convention Bans Squirt Guns, Real Guns Are Fine Though (inquisitr.com)
- This Is How Screwed Up Florida’s Laws Are (ken_ashford.typepad.com)
- At GOP Convention, Squirt Guns Banned, Real Guns OK (newser.com)
- New York Times editorial: Florida gun law creates a ‘national embarrassment’ around Republican National Convention in Tampa (tampabay.com)
- Permitted concealed firearms would be allowed in Tampa’s GOP convention protest zone (tampabay.com)