Friday, April 06, 2012

Florida: Hoisted by their own petard?

NYT editorial:

The [Tampa]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 {for the National Republican Convention}.
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.
This down-the-rabbit-hole situation is the result of a law passed last year by state legislators at the behest of the gun lobby. It ended longstanding local gun controls, prohibiting city governments from enacting any ordinances on the sale, possession or use of firearms.
Tampa officials wanted to ban handguns outside the convention hall (the Secret Service has undisputed power to ban weapons inside the hall) but came up against the state law, which imposes $100,000 fines on local governments that try to meet such obvious public-safety needs.
Add to that the "Stand Your Ground" law!  This political convention, like all conventions, will draw protesters, but some of these protesters will be legally armed, and  legally entitled to shoot anyone by whom they feel threatened.  This is a recipe for chaos.

If anything untoward does happen, I am likely to break out into a serious case of schadenfreude, so I hope that before then, sanity breaks out among Florida legislators.

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