Over 40,000 People Sign Petition To Allow Firearms At RNC Convention; UPDATE: Secret Service Says No Guns

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Mar 28, 2016 2:35 PM
Over 40,000 People Sign Petition To Allow Firearms At RNC Convention; UPDATE: Secret Service Says No Guns

For the most part, Ohio is pretty solid on Second Amendment rights, but the venue for the upcoming Republican National Convention–the Quicken Loans Arena–prohibits firearms on its premises. A petition calling for the Republican National Committee to “rectify” the issue has gathered more than 40,000 signatures, where the organizers note that all three candidates still running for the GOP nomination oppose gun-free zones, while citing security and terrorism concerns (via CNN):

Though Ohio is an open carry state, which allows for the open carry of guns, the hosting venue — the Quicken Loans Arena — strictly forbids the carry of firearms on their premises," the petition says.

The petition's author, who is identified as "N A," asks the three remaining GOP candidates to ask the Republican National Committee to advocate for changes to this policy.

In order to ensure the safety of your supporters, delegates and all attendees at the convention in July, you must call upon the RNC to rectify this affront to our Second Amendment freedoms and insist upon a suspension of the Quicken Loans Arena's unconstitutional 'gun-free zone' loophole," the petition reads.

The petition says Cleveland is a violent city and cites the threat of terrorism and all three Republican candidates' opposition to gun-free zones as reasons why attendees should be allowed to carry inside the arena.

"We are all too familiar with the mass carnage that can occur when citizens are denied their basic God-given rights to carry handguns or assault weapons in public," the petition reads.

The petition asks Ohio governor and GOP presidential hopeful John Kasich to use his executive authority to override Ohio's "gun-free zone" laws.

No doubt there will be tight security during the convention, but given that the Republican Party stands for our oldest civil right; they should at least entertain the motion. Law-abiding citizens who have their carry permits should have the ability to be in public with their firearms.

UPDATE: Welp, the Secret Service has squashed this motion. The agency cited a federal statute that allows them to bar unauthorized, though law-abiding, persons from carrying firearms inside venues where protectees are present (via The Hill):

The Secret Service says people attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July will not be allowed to carry guns.

The statement comes in response to a petition that calls for allowing open carry of guns inside Quicken Loans Arena, the host venue.

The petition has amassed more than 43,000 signatures as of Monday morning.

Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said in a statement that “only authorized law enforcement personnel” working with the agency will be allowed to carry firearms inside protected areas.

“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,” Hoback said.

The Secret Service cited federal law that allows the agency to prevent firearms from being carried into venues with protectees present, even in open-carry states.

UPDATE II: Charles Cooke notes that there is no Second Amendment violation, as it was meant to be a check on government overreach, not private venues. Also, there is a legitimate case for when firearms should be limited, like when the GOP nominee is in the vicinity...all good points. 

There are many Second Amendment fights ahead; this isn't one of them. The motion was considered and rejected by the Secret Service. Time to move on, folks.