Cleveland Mayor Wants to Suspend Open Carry During RNC
The day before Republicans will gather in Cleveland for their nominating convention, the long-anticipated conflicts broke out in full view of the media – not between supporters of the presumptive candidate Donald Trump and the “Never Trump” faction, not between Trump himself and the less-than-enthusiastic Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, but between unlikely opponents who are usually allies.
The assassination of three police officers in Baton Rouge while flags around the nation still fly at half-mast for five officers killed by a sniper in Dallas has raised safety concerns in Cleveland beyond the protection of the candidates, the delegates and the protesters who love or loathe Donald Trump.
The president of the Cleveland police union has made it clear that every one of his officers has a target on their back and he intends to do what he can to protect them from the kind of attack that has felled eight officers and left a dozen more wounded in attacks directed on them for the sole reason that they wear the blue and the badge.
Police Union President Steve Loomis asked Ohio Governor John Kasich to issue a temporary suspension on the state’s “open carry” law for Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is located, for the four day duration of the convention in an effort to reduce the chances of fatal violence.
But Kasich, who had hoped to be in Cleveland to accept his party’s nomination before losing the primary battle to the presumptive candidate, Donald Trump, has refused.
A statement issued by Kasich’s office claimed that while he sympathized with the concerns for officer safety, “Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws.”
Loomis was quick to respond that if the law allowing open carry could be suspended within the so-called “hard zone” surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena, it could easily be expanded to include the entire county.
In addition, Loomis argued that the power of governor to declare a state of emergency in a county would address any constitutional concerns Kasich claims prevent him from banning open carry for the four-days of the convention.
Convention planners have designated two rings of security – the 1.7 square miles in downtown Cleveland comprising the “event” zone where glass bottles are banned, but guns are allowed, and the “secure” zone closer to the arena, which will be under the control of the Secret Service.