Desperate to ban firearms in the areas surrounding the Republican National Convention, Tampa officials are looking to put pressure on Gov. Rick Scott to urge him to use his executive power to suspend a state pre-emption law that prevents cities and local municipalities from regulating firearms.
Leading the charge is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Buckhorn is in the process of drafting a letter to the governor, in which he will argue that the governor should invoke his powers to “suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of guns along with alcohol and explosives during emergencies” so that city officials can enact their gun ban.
“We’re just trying to figure out whether that’s something they would entertain,” City Attorney Jim Shimberg told the Tampa Tribune. “We’re starting the process.”
As noted in a previous Guns.com article, city leaders are not concerned with the convention itself – as the federal government has already dubbed the convention a “National Special Security Event,” which gives the Secret Service the power to ban firearms – but they’re worried about the “clean zones” they’ve set up around the Secret Service perimeter.
The “clean zones” are areas for delegates and journalists and the throngs of people who will be there to enjoy the GOP-palooza in late August.
Buckhorn has already set strict guidelines for what’s not allowed in the “clean zones,” a list that includes everything from gas masks to string longer than 6 inches. The one item not on the list is guns.
According to Statute 790.33 – Field of regulation of firearms and ammunition preempted – the power to regulate firearms and ammunition resides solely with the Legislature unless, as mentioned, there’s an emergency, in which case the governor can intervene.
To say Mayor Buckhorn is frustrated by the law may be an understatement.
“The absurdity of us being able to ban squirt guns but being prohibited from banning guns is just ridiculous,” Buckhorn told the Tampa Tribune.
“If they (legislators) were to call a special session and give an exemption for this week, I think people would be happy,” he added.
However, the GOP leaning Legislature has shown no signs of complying with Buckhorn’s request.
“We are not aware of any discussions to create an exemption,” Katherine Betta, spokeswoman for state House Speaker Dean Cannon, told the Tampa Tribune.
So city leaders are hoping that Gov. Scott comes to the rescue.
“That’s the best option we have,” Shimberg told the Tampa Tribune.
We’ll continue to keep you posted as more news develops.