TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa City Council will hold Thursday morning the first of two votes on plans for the Republican National Convention this summer. They will look at event zone boundaries, permitting, and what items visitors can bring into downtown. While sticks, poles, and water guns are on the list of banned items, guns are not.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn tried getting guns banned from the downtown area, saying it's a National Special Security Event as declared by the Secret Service. "The difference is this is a volatile environment. There is a potential for bad things to happen," he says.
It's the argument Mayor Buckhorn made to Governor Rick Scott -- to ban guns from the city's event zone during the four days of the Republican National Convention from August 27-30.
Buckhorn says, "This is nothing about gun ownership. I am a gun owner myself. This is an effort to keep those that are here safe and our police officers safe."
Safe from scenes like the one in 2004 when demonstrators broke out at a political convention. RNC officials expect 50,000 visitors to Tampa.
The mayor's support is split.
Arlesia Carter supports the mayor's request for a ban on guns because of the number of people who will be at the convention.
Pete Nelson, however, says it's his right to bear arms. "I know there will be some license carriers out there to help protect people against those who don't have a license and still have a gun."
The governor denied the mayor's request, saying, "An absolute ban on possession in entire neighborhoods and regions would surely violate the 2nd Amendment."
"We didn't have much hope when I sent the letter. I respect his defense for the Second Amendment," says Buckhorn.
Tampa attorney Eric Adams says the governor faced a constitutional dilemma. "I think the governor was concerned if he makes an exception for this event, then with another event, another municipality will ask for another exception and another exception and a slippery slope. I think there was a concern of eroding away at Second Amendment rights."
Mayor Buckhorn says Tampa police and other law enforcement will have to be extra vigilant against anyone carrying a concealed weapon to make sure the laws in place are strictly enforced.