Just before the Tampa City Council began its discussion of Mayor Bob Buckhorn's rules for RNC protesters, the mayor told CL that he'd be amenable to changing the 60-minute limit on protests.
That limitation on the length of protests has been assailed by the ACLU, Tampa activists, the Tampa Bay Times editorial board, and on Thursday, by several members of the City Council.
Asked on his way to an Aviation Authority meeting about a change to that limit, Buckhorn said, "We're open to that," adding, "What has been lost in this whole discussion is we did that to encourage and to allow more people to participate. It wasn't to limit it...because there's going to be so many groups, and one group could clog up the whole protest route, so we're trying to get people through so they can all get close to where they want to go."
As far as other objections to his administration's proposed ordinance, Buckhorn said some of them were "absurd," but did not specify.
One law that he thinks is absurd, but one over which he has no control, is the state legislation that says only Tallahassee can pass gun measures, making it illegal for municipalities to enforce their own such restrictions. It means that police cannot prevent someone with a permit from bringing a gun into the Clean Zone, where the city is imposing a number of other restrictions.
"To think that we can ban water pistols, but we can't ban AK-47's is just, you know," he said, shaking his head in disgust.
Buckhorn says he is a Second Amendment supporter and owns a gun, but "this is beyond the pale. It's just ridiculous."
At Thursday's City Council meeting on the proposed ordinance regarding RNC protests, Councilwoman Yolie Capin addressed the situation this way:
"I don't want us to be scriptwriters for the Comedy Channel, but that's where the state Legislature has put us," adding that if anybody had an issue with that they need to contact state lawmakers and Governor Rick Scott.