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Visit Florida — where 6-Gun Territory is not a theme park

Something for which to be grateful: Mississippi has Garden&Gun (which, by the way, just won national acclaim for magazine excellence).

My home state of Florida, on the other hand, has Parks&Gun (which, by the way, just won national acclaim for stupidity).

I left the Sunshine State just after its passage of a “bring your guns to work law.” OK, you couldn’t actually bring your loaded Roscoe into your building but you were fully entitled to have it in your car, just in case that co-worker who keeps stinking up the place by heating up fish in the microwave at lunch ignores your demands to stop.

Disney World complained it didn’t want Grumpy and Dopey arriving at work with loaded firearms at the ready. Too bad, said the state. Employees must be able to do more than whistle while they work.

Florida’s gun de-evolution continues.

Last Tuesday’s Miami Herald reported that groundskeepers at municipal and county parks around the state are set to remove signs warning visitors against bringing firearms into the parks. Same at recreation centers, city halls, libraries or anywhere else except schools and bars.

You have to leave your heat outside when going into meetings of local government or school boards. I guess the memory of that homicidal maniac unloading a clip on a Panhandle school board a year or so ago was still a little too vivid for even Florida’s gun happy legislators.

Under the new law that takes effect Oct. 1, all of the state’s cities and counties must repeal local rules limiting gun ownership. This year’s new law adds fines for local officials who fail to comply, and gives gun owners a right to sue for damages if they believe their rights have been violated, the Miami Herald reports.

Though the initial bill suggested a fine of $5 million, the final legislation lowered the amount to $5,000, according to the Herald.

I like a good shoot ’em up as much as the next person. It’s in my DNA. I bought my mother a color TV back in the early 1980s. She found a way to make the color go away and return the screen to her beloved black & white. Her shoot ’em ups, she said, just weren’t the same in living color.

I think somehow she was trying to convey that as much as she loved the high noon showdowns and the gunfights at the OK Corral, putting them in color made them a little too real for her.

Letting people bring their guns into parks and city halls – that’s a little too real, as well.

It’s testimony to the weirdness of our times that in Florida you would feel safer bringing your child into a bar than a park. One gets to keep its “No Guns” warning; the other doesn’t.

Mississippi meeting and convention organizers should weigh this factor the next time they plan to meet in the Gunfight State instead of spending their convention dollars at home where a Garden&Gun is a mark of excellence and not terror.

Ted Carter, the chief financial writer for the Mississippi Business Journal, can be reached at ted.carter@msbusiness.com.


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