A woman with her grandson found a loaded gun on a Walt Disney World ride on Sunday, sparking questions about the park’s security after the gun’s owner claimed he had no idea lethal weapons are not allowed in the magic kingdom.
The weapon was a Cobra .380, according to Fox affiliate WOFL-TV, found on the Dinosaur ride in the park’s Animal Kingdom area. The woman, who was not named, turned it in to security guards.
The gun’s owner, 44-year-old Angelo Lista, was eventually located inside the park and asked to leave. Investigators told Orlando’s 13 News that Lista, who holds a concealed carry license, was extremely apologetic and claimed he didn’t know guns were banned in Disney World.
While the park is equipped with security checkpoints and guards who search bags for weapons, Lista apparently walked through them unmolested. The park does not use metal detectors. Lista told police the gun “just slipped out” of his pocket during the ride, according to WOFL-TV.
Florida has some of the nation’s most liberal gun laws, permitting concealed carry permit holders to bring weapons with them almost everywhere, although by law they are banned in bars, schools, courthouses, police departments, mass transit centers, ports, state parks and other government buildings.
Disney, however, is not officially a protected area according to Florida’s limited gun regulations, but it exists in a strange legal limbo built upon two phantom “cities” that enable Disney to employ its own police force and exercise dictatorial control over areas within the park’s boundaries. Because Disney owns all the land and all its residents elect Disney loyalists, they are able to ban weapons by fiat through provisions in Florida’s property laws.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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