NewsPinellas County


Florida's concealed carry law could have impact on Imagine Clearwater

Posted at 4:17 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 09:49:31-05

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Imagine Clearwater, a new amphitheater at Coachman Park, is expected to open next summer.

"It's been a long time coming," said Thomas Perry.

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The project, which will cost about $64 million, will redesign Clearwater's downtown waterfront. It would include a 4,5000 seat amphitheater at Coachman Park, estimated to open in the summer of 2021.

"I think it's great because I don't live too far from here," Maria Rosch said. "I can walk here."

"There should be thousands of people walking around down here then," said local John Elliot, who lives in nearby condos.

But, the city might run into an issue booking big name celebrity acts, because of the state's concealed carry law. It takes the power away from local government. Basically, if you have your concealed carry permit, you cannot be denied entry into a public place or event.

This is a problem because some celebrities refuse to perform in venues that allow guns.

City leaders say alcohol may be a way to get around the law. They believe the law says that if a venue is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages, then concealed carry is not allowed. The city says some local establishments have implemented this already.

Gun owners say that is not what the law means. They say it means you can carry your gun into an establishment where alcohol is being sold -- like a restaurant-- but you can't go into the bar with the gun. They say it will not prohibit them from bringing their concealed weapon to a concert where alcohol is being served.

Click this link to read the law for yourself.

Clearwater City leaders say, right now, this is just something that is being talked about. There are no plans, at this moment, to make any changes or ban guns.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to better explain interpretations of the gun law