A petition to allow guns at the Republican convention just met its first 35,000 signer goal. The basic idea is to make sure the convention is not a “gun-free zone,” which every major GOP candidate has strongly condemned. It gives a number of solutions to the problem, but the Republican Party has been slow to comment.
According to the petition, featured on Change.org, the Republican convention will be held in July at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The state of Ohio is an “open-carry” state, meaning that gun-owners can carry their weapons without an additional license or permit. But, the Quicken Loans Arena’s policy makes firearms “strictly forbidden on the premises.”
That policy, according to comments from the NRA and many Republican politicians, will attract would-be shooters to the area and could put people at risk.
The petition hopes to change all that before it’s too late, explaining its rationale with the help of the NRA.
“This is a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk. As the National Rifle Association has made clear, ‘gun-free zones’ such as the Quicken Loans Arena are ‘the worst and most dangerous of all lies.’ The NRA, our leading defender of gun rights, has also correctly pointed out that ‘gun free zones… tell every insane killer in America… (the) safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.'”
The Guardian reports that Americans for Responsible Open Carry took credit for the petition, but that group appears to have been created for the sole purpose of creating the Change.org page. A Twitter user named Hyperationalist claims to be behind the campaign. Whether or not the fight to allow guns at the Republican convention is disingenuous or not, many of the supporters appear to be serious.
As one commentator said, “Hypocrisy is the death of political parties. Stand by your frothy principles, or shut up about them.”
The Beacon Journal sought comments from the Republican Party in Ohio and from the committee overseeing the July event. Neither heard about the petition, but said that the Secret Service along with state and federal police would be overseeing the security. The NRA has reportedly not commented yet.
The petition has five specific calls to action from different organizations and people.
The first demand is for the Quicken Loans Arena to change its policy for the Republican convention. As the petitioner explains, the policies of the arena “do not supersede the rights given to us by our Creator in the U.S. Constitution.”
The second is for the NRA to get involved and condemn the “gun-free zone” loophole in Ohio state’s law.
Similarly, the third demand is for Ohio Governor John Kasich, also a candidate for the GOP nomination, to use his executive authorities to override the Quicken Loans Arena’s rules. The governor did make a change in recruitment centers, allowing Ohio’s national guard to be armed. According to local WBNS, the decision came after a shooting at a recruitment center in Chattanooga.
The fourth demand is to Reince Priebus, head of the Republican National Committee. The petitioner wants both an explanation as to why the RNC chose a location so “unfriendly to Second Amendment rights,” and a contingency plan to move the location if the arena doesn’t change their policies.
Finally, the petitioner wants the support of the presidential candidates to make the change happen.
That final demand may be the easiest, considering some of the condemnations of gun-free zones from candidates.
Ted Cruz reportedly said, “shooting after shooting after shooting happens in so-called gun-free zones… look, if you’re a lunatic ain’t nothing better then having a bunch of targets you know that are going to be unarmed.”
Donald Trump shared a similar opinion, stating, “you know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko? That’s bait.”
In 2012, the GOP faced a similar situation in Tampa, Florida, according to the Tampa Tribune. The city was prevented from controlling guns at the Republican convention but the secret service still turned away anyone with a firearm.
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