NYT editorial: Tampa's inability to regulate guns in protest zone a "national embarrassment"

Unlike some other blog posts that have come across the transom in recent days, the Times accurately notes that this is not Tampa's fault at all. In fact, as some argue in CL's cover story this week, this is not the first time that elected officials in both Tampa and St. Petersburg have attempted to craft laws that make sense in their urban environments. Both cities were kneecapped not only by last year's law that imposes fines on local governments for not rescinding any and all gun regulations, but by the original 1987 bill signed by then Governor Bob Martinez that took gun control away from local governments and restored it to Tallahassee ? a classic inversion of the GOP's mantra about local control.

As one commenter from Oklahoma on the Times website wrote:

America has gone completely insane, especially Florida. Move the convention to a state that cares about the safety of the candidates and the crowds. Or maybe the Republican convention likes the idea of everyone armed. Scary stuff going on down there.

As we wrote in a post yesterday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn agrees that the state law is "absurd."

Will the GOP Legislature hold a special session to repeal the law? Or are they content to ride this one out?

Four days ago, the Tampa Tribune first reported that Mayor Bob Buckhorn's rules and regulations for protesters at the 2012 Republican National Convention omitted a ban on guns, while water pistols, super soakers, air guns, paintball guns, explosives, switchblades, hatchets, slingshots and brass knuckles would be prohibited in the entire city during the four-day event. Now the story has taken on a life of its own, primarily as a classic example of how out of control Florida's gun laws are, and how betrothed Republicans and too many Democrats have been to the National Rifle Association in the Sunshine State.

The latest to weigh in is the New York Times editorial page. On Friday the Times editorial "Law of the Gun in Florida" details this issue, calling it a "lethal parody."

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. This lethal parody of gun control should be repealed, like the notorious Stand Your Ground law. But voters cannot expect common sense from the Republican-controlled Legislature, which is on a leash held by the gun lobby.

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