When Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson headed to Florida as a delegate to this week’s Republican National Convention, he had his concealed handgun with him, as he usually does,” says the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s like a smoke detector. You don’t know when you’ll need it, but you keep fresh batteries in it anyway,” he said. Tampa’s mayor had asked that guns be banned downtown during the convention, but Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected the request.
“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,” Scott told Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “It is at just such times that the constitutional right to self-defense is most precious and must be protected from government overreach.” People can legally continue to carry concealed handguns in both downtowns during the conventions — but not within a secure perimeter or the convention site, which will be manned by the Secret Service. The only guns allowed inside that perimeter are those of law officers working the conventions. Four years ago at the Republican convention in Minnesota, some protests turned violent, with reports of people throwing rocks, shattering windows of police cars and stores, and even spitting on delegates. Hoping to avoid those problems, Tampa leaders created an “event zone” and limited items that protesters and others could carry there, banning aerosol cans, glass bottles, water guns, knives, and more.