Gun ban at RNC too logical for Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Published May 4, 2012

The mayor's letter to the governor was all prudence and sensibility, a reasonable request for a temporary ban on guns at a potentially combustible, extremely crowded, very political event.

Emphasis on political.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn asked for a ban downtown during the Republican National Convention that will bring 50,000 people to town in August. Four days in a small and defined part of the city seemed no more an affront to the Second Amendment than, say, a three-day cooling-off period to buy a gun — a prudent rule that has no doubt saved lives.

The potential for saving lives being the point.

But if you thought when that letter made its way to Tallahassee that logic would win the day with a temporary stay, you may be unfamiliar with our governor, our politics and the amazing-to-behold steroid-strength of our gun lobby.

Not to mention our apparent determination to reign supreme as the hands-down best butt of jokes on late-night TV. You know the ones: Sure, bring your guns to the RNC, but leave those sticks, squirt guns and lengths of rope at home. They could hurt somebody!

In a reply as swift as it was snooty, Gov. Rick Scott said no to penning an executive order that would have allowed the brief ban downtown. Had the mayor even heard of the Second Amendment? the letter all but said. And yes, actually, since Buckhorn is a gun owner who has had a concealed-weapons permit himself.

For Scott to have replied otherwise in a state where the National Rifle Association seems to dictate laws at will would have been most politically imprudent. As for Buckhorn, and do not doubt the man's political chops here either, he now has proof on paper of an attempt at a common sense measure, should a serious God-forbid incident occur.

Buckhorn also wisely made a point of saying this was not about law-abiding concealed-weapons permit holders, but about guns falling into the wrong hands in the potential craziness of the convention. (Enter God-forbid moment here.)

My favorite part of the governor's instructional note to the mayor was him pointing out that guns are already forbidden by the Secret Service inside and at the perimeter of the convention itself.

You know, where assorted dignitaries and politicians — like Scott — will spend their time.

But out where protests and contention will occur?

Sorry, the Second Amendment forbids even a brief restriction.

Despite what some people will tell you, the right to keep and bear arms does not translate to guns for anyone, anywhere. Reasonable restrictions exist for responsible, legal gun ownership. Even someone with a concealed-weapons permit can't bring one into a police station, jail, courthouse, polling place or — there's our lawmakers, looking out for No. 1 again —a meeting of the Legislature. The logic is obvious: Even in a society that respects gun ownership, there are some places they do not belong.

If, God forbid, anything terrible happens, Scott can find cover blaming a failure by law enforcement, or faulty planning or who knows what. And the mayor of Tampa will be able to say: I tried, not that given the mind-set in Tallahassee, trying for a restriction on guns, however reasonable, ever had a prayer.