As armored police line downtown Cleveland, Trump plans to weigh in on open carry at the GOP convention. In Ohio, it is legal to openly carry assault weapons, but so far, the GOP has said all guns get checked at the convention door. The head of Cleveland’s police union begged Ohio Governor John Kasich to suspend the law.
— Alexander Trowbridge (@AlexanderTrow) July 17, 2016
Cleveland police are worried the tempers of competing groups outside of the convention will flare and prove deadly, according to Think Progress. But Kasich has signed several bills protecting Ohio’s gun laws, and he responded that the governor does not have the authority to:
‘Arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state law as suggested.”
NEW: Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association drafting asking OH Gov. John Kasich to suspend open carry in Cleveland during RNC Convention.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 17, 2016
Jeff Larson, CEO of the RNC, agreed during a press conference on Sunday:
‘[Open carry] is in the Constitution in Ohio, so the governor can’t relax it for a day or tighten it up for five days.’ Waving away the police union’s safety concerns, Larson added, ‘I feel good about the security plan. I think it’s going to be fine.’
However, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland held his own press conference Sunday. He said if he was still governor, he would do all he could to keep people from open carrying near he convention:
‘I wouldn’t choose to break the law, but if it was possible for it to be done, that would make sense. We have got to take some strong action to deal with gun violence.’
— Matt Pearce ? (@mattdpearce) July 17, 2016
Trump’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress that she is “not nervous at all” with people walking around with assault weapons, designed only for killing people. She said:
‘I am recommending that people follow the law.’
An armed Trump fan, Steve Thacker said:
‘I should be able to conceal this weapon under my clothing so no one sees it, then people…[don’t] feel threatened or upset.
‘It’s not dangerous. People that carry firearms are typically people that have no need or want of causing any harm to anybody. They want to protect themselves.’
Thomas Answeeney, 25, came to Cleveland from Buffalo, New York to protest against Trump. He said:
‘Open carry is apparently a very two-sided thing, because we can’t open carry.’
In recent years, Ohio police have shot and killed a black child playing with a toy gun and a young black man who was holding a BB gun. On the other hand, white people seem to enjoy the full rights of open carry. Answeeney said:
‘If anyone here at this demonstration against Trump was openly carrying, we’d be on the f*cking floor with cuffs, at best. I think it’s disgusting… It’s always a double standard.’