Secret Service Says: No Guns At Republican Convention
The U.S. Secret Service has announced that no one will be allowed to bring a gun into the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, this July, where the Republicans will meet to nominate their presidential candidate.
This announcement comes in response to a petition published on the Change.org website asking for a change to the “guns-free” policy of the Arena in order to allow guns inside, in accordance with the “open carry” law in Ohio. The Arena has been an exception to this law since its passage.
Protection of Candidates
The Secret Service has explained that it has the right to ban weapons because it is responsible for the protection of the three current Republican candidates, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. All three are currently under Secret Service protection as they campaign throughout the U.S.
The following is according to Robert Hoback, spokesman for the Secret Service.
“Only authorized law enforcement personnel working in conjunction with the Secret Service for a particular event may carry a firearm inside of the protected site.”
By protected site, Hoback means any place where any of the three candidates may be.
“Individuals determined to be carrying firearms will not be allowed past a predetermined outer perimeter checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a ticket to the event,” he added on Monday, during his statement.
— CNN (@CNN) March 28, 2016
Petition Claims 2nd Amendment Rights
While the Arena’s rules ban any weapons, including firearms, the petition claims that this is a “direct affront” to the 2nd Amendment “Right to Bear Arms” clause and further states that, because Cleveland is one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S., convention goers have the right to protect themselves as they travel to this city for their meeting.
The petition further claims that the Arena’s rules place American citizens in “grave danger.” Among the five actions requested by the petition is one for John Kasich, a candidate and current Ohio governor, to use his executive authority to override the Arena’s rules.
As of Monday afternoon, the petition had garnered well over 48,000 signatures.
Republicans and Gun Policies
All three candidates for the Republican nomination are staunch supporters of a strict interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.
Governor Kasich signed into law the current open-carry legislation that allows citizens to carry guns on their persons throughout the state. The only exceptions are when local businesses and organizations ban them, as is the case with the Quicken Loans Arena. He also eliminated the “guns-free” zone at Ohio National Guard facilities in the fall of 2015.
Senator Cruz, currently in 2nd place in the nomination race, was quoted after the San Bernardino shootings.
“If you’re a lunatic, ain’t nothing better than having a bunch of targets you know that are going to be unarmed.”
Donald Trump, the front runner, also a strong gun advocate, stated in January that he would eliminate gun-free zones at schools, if elected.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been a large contributor to the Republican Party and to specific candidates who oppose any gun control legislation. Endorsements by this group are always sought by Republican candidates at all levels of government. The NRA provides voters with a letter grade scoring on all candidates, based upon how they vote on proposed gun legislation.
— David Graeber (@davidgraeber) March 29, 2016
Petition Claims Hypocrisy
Given the Republican Party stand on issues of guns, the Change.org petition accuses the Republicans of advocating open carry of weapons, unless the venue is one at which they will be present.
Hypocrisy or not, the Secret Service has stepped in, and no guns will be allowed.
Certainly a part of the concern for violence comes on the heels of the possibility of a contested convention this July. If front runner Donald Trump does not have the required number of delegate votes to secure the nomination, he has predicted that there may be riots if he is still not the nominee.
Origin Of The Petition
The origin of the petition was tracked down yesterday. Under the Twitter name of @Hyperationalist, a fellow who identifies himself only as Jim told a reporter that he is actually a gun control advocate and began the petition as a way to expose the hypocrisy of the Republican Party and its candidates.
When asked about the petition and the Secret Service announcement on Monday, Cruz and Kasich both stated that they would bow to the judgement of the protection unit. Trump, on Sunday, stated that he would have no comment until he had the chance to read the details of the petition.
Petition or not, there will be no guns at the convention.
[Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]