White's gun okay, but not in meetings

The county attorney says licensed firearms can be brought into the County Center.

By TImes staff writer
Published December 12, 2006

TAMPA - Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White can carry a gun in the County Center as long as he doesn't bring it to Commission meetings, according to Hillsborough County Attorney Renee Lee, despite the "no weapons" signs near the Center's doors.

"There is no prohibition in the statute against a licensee with a concealed weapon or firearm, from coming into County Center and going to the tax office to renew his/her auto tags," Lee wrote Monday in a memo to White.

When asked about the signs, Lee said they meant that people without concealed weapons permits cannot bring weapons into the building.

This includes Hillsborough County employees, who would be allowed under Florida law to carry guns to work without a permit but are prohibited from doing so under county policy.

However, Florida law still prohibits carrying a weapon - defined as a "handgun, electronic weapon or device, tear gas gun, knife or billie"- to any government meeting.

White repeatedly refused to answer whether he had carried a gun to meetings of the Commission or his previous office, the Tampa City Council.

"I'm pretty sure he did not bring a gun to meetings," Lee said.

She said White told her he was aware of the law as a city councilman.

Previously, White was a Tampa police officer and head of security for Rooms to Go.