ByÂ Michael PeltierÂ |Â Reuters
Tallahassee, Florida (Reuters) – Florida Governor Rick Scott has shot down a request by Tampa’s mayor to allow local authorities to ban guns from the city’s downtown during the Republican National Convention in August.
Citing Second Amendment protections in the U.S. Constitution, Scott told Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn that conventions and guns have co-existed since the nation’s birth and would continue to do so during the four-day event beginning August 27.
“It is unclear how disarming law abiding citizens would better protect them from the dangers and threats posed by those who would flout the law,” the Republican governor said in a letter on Tuesday.
Local officials need Scott’s permission to enact the temporary restrictions after state lawmakers last year passed a measure that prohibits local governments from adopting gun ordinances that are stricter than state law.
Florida has some of the most lenient gun laws in the United States and by some counts leads the nation in gun ownership, with about 6.5 percent of all adults licensed to carry a concealed weapon, state records show.
New applications for concealed gun permits have quadrupled since 1998.
In a letter to Scott, Buckhorn said the Tampa City Council had banned a host of items from the area surrounding the convention facility, a list that includes water guns, poles and pieces of wood.
“One noticeable item missing from the city’s temporary ordinance is firearms,” Buckhorn wrote. “In the potentially contentious environment surrounding the RNC, a firearm unnecessarily increases the threat of imminent harm and injury to the residents and visitors to the city.”
Scott said he was confident law enforcement officials, who are expected to number nearly 4,000, would be able to protect the public without having to enforce a blanket gun ban.
That city officials have banned other items is irrelevant, he said.
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