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Florida gov. blows away plan to limit guns outside GOP convention

May 03, 2012
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott, pictured in file photograph, rejected a plan to ban guns near the GOP convention in Tampa this summer.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, pictured in file photograph, rejected a plan to… (J. Pat Carter / Associated…)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott assumed office in January 2011, riding high on the cresting national wave of tea-party-fueled discontent.

Since then, it's been rough going for the Republican former healthcare executive. His approval rating, according to a recent Public Policy Polling survey, is 34%. Some of that discontent has come from tea partyers, who have grumbled, among other things, about Scott's failure to champion an Arizona-style illegal immigration crackdown in the Sunshine State.

This week he got a chance to champion a cause popular in the tea party movement: the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

In Tampa, site of the 2012 Republican National Convention in August, Democratic Mayor Bob Buckhorn this week asked the governor to issue an executive order banning concealed weapons throughout his downtown during the convention, according to the Tampa Bay Times. (The Secret Service will already ban guns in the city's convention center and in the a perimeter surrounding the building.)

Scott responded with a two-page letter.

"Dear Mayor Buckhorn," it starts, cordial enough. "The short answer to your request is found in the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and in Article 1, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution. These provisions guarantee that the government may not infringe on the people's right 'to keep and bear arms.'"

Scott goes on to ask why Buckhorn thinks that disarming law-abiding citizens would protect them from the threats posed by violent antigovernment protesters, and wraps up with a civics lesson:

"We have had political conventions in this country since the dawn of the Republic. They are an essential means of furthering our constitutional rights to free speech and to vote. Our fundamental right to keep and bear arms has coexisted with those freedoms for just as long, and I see no reason to depart from that tradition this year."

Buckhorn replied with a statement that noted he is a 2nd Amendment supporter, with a concealed weapons permit to boot.

"Scott has made his position clear," he wrote. "I am disappointed, but we will plan and train accordingly."

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