Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Gunshine State

Alternet has a must-read piece on Florida's worst laws. The law that deeply disturbs me is gun owner are now allowed to carry weapons into state buildings.

Another provision of the law is truly frightening. It makes it easier for anyone to bring a concealed weapon into the state government complex in Tallahassee. No longer can police ask people to check their weapons before entering the state capitol itself. Adding insult to injury, many lawmakers spent taxpayer money to install emergency alert buttons on their phones, just in case someone starts shooting. But as one Democratic senator notes, panic buttons won’t be much good if someone charges into a government office with guns blazing. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says violent crime has fallen statewide, but gun-related deaths increased 35 percent from 1999 to 2009. And here’s something that really worries gun opponents: In a state with 19 million residents, there are 6 million gun owners, almost a million of whom can now carry concealed weapons.

Republicans caving into the whims of the NRA is the reason we now have the Stand Your Ground law. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn plans on setting up a "clean zone" at the Republican National Convention. Items such as water pistols, glass bottles and rope longer than six inches will be banned from the clean zone. The one item that won't be banned is guns. That is because the Florida legislature took away the power for towns and cities to create their own gun ordinances.

"If we'd tried to regulate guns, it wouldn't have worked," said City Attorney Jim Shimberg. "Any local ordinance that regulates guns is void"

This creates a safety nightmare for the Secret Service and law enforcement. This is what happens when the legislature places the interest of the paranoid over public safety.

Side note: I bet we aren't going to hear any Republicans talk about violent revolution or watering the tree of liberty in Tampa.

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