Florida Gov. Rick Scott won't ban guns during GOP convention
Florida Gov. Rick Scott will allow people to carry guns in the area of the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay this August, denying a request to ban them near the gathering.
The Tampa City Council voted last week to ask Scott to ban guns in downtown Tampa and in nearby areas during the convention, at which the GOP presidential nominee will be announced.
Scott, a Republican, cited the Sunshine State's law along with the Second Amendment in defense of his decision, which he outlined in a letter to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.
"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," he wrote. "It is just such times that the constitutional right to self-defense is most precious and must be protected from government outreach."
Scott added that the Secret Service would ban firearms inside the actual convention, held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and security will be present around the perimeter of the Forum.
The Council had to file the request because Florida law bans local officials from overturning local laws pertaining to firearms. Florida law dictates residents are permitted to carry concealed weapons with a permit, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
"In the potentially contentious environment surrounding the RNC, a firearm unnecessarily increases the threat of imminent harm and injury to the residents and visitors of the city," Buckhorn reportedly said.
Scott, however, insisted attendees and the projected 15,000 protestors will be safe.
"We have had political conventions in this country since the dawn of the Republic," he wrote in the letter. "They are essential means of furthering our Constitutional rights of free speech and to vote. Our fundamental right to keep and bear arms coexisted with these freedoms for just as long, and I see no reason to depart from this tradition this year."