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Tampa Council asks feds for help with RNC gun ban
Posted May 17, 2012 by Kevin Wiatrowski
Updated May 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Frustrated by Gov. Rick Scott’s recent rebuff of Tampa’s request to regulate guns during the Republican National Convention, City Council members plan to appeal to federal officials for help.
Over the next week, council members will draft a letter to the U.S. Secret Service and to Attorney General Eric Holder asking them to step in where state officials have declined to do so.
City Attorney Jim Shimberg said he’s skeptical the appeal will find much traction, given that the gun laws are a state issue.
Councilwoman Mary Mulhern argued that the RNC is as much of a political gathering as a city council meeting, which is among the few places state law blocks people from carrying concealed weapons.
“The Republican National Convention is a huge public meeting,” Mulhern said. “And the area around it is part of that meeting.”
The Secret Service plans to ban anyone but working law enforcement agents from carrying weapons within its security perimeter around the convention venues in the Channelside area. Outside that security fence, however, state and city rules apply.
Councilman Harry Cohen suggested the city ask the Secret Service to expand its security perimeter to include part of all of the city’s event zone.
Council members will finalize their letter next week and send it off to its federal recipients.