The petition to allow the open carry of firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the GOP convention in Cleveland in July has upwards of 44,000 signatures, with supporters arguing that the ban is an infringement upon their Second Amendment rights given that Ohio is an open carry state. But will this go anywhere? The answer is no.
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The U.S. Secret Service said today that no firearms will be allowed at the Republican convention in Cleveland this July.
Ohio’s open carry law allows private employers to prohibit the presence of firearms on their property or in motor vehicles owned by the employer. In this case, that private employer is the Quicken Loans Arena, which bans handguns, firearms and any other weapons on their premises.
A spokesperson for the Secret Service told ABC News today that “firearms will not be allowed in the Quicken Loans Arena” and “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.”
“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,” Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said.
The Secret Service is authorized to ban firearms from entering sites visited by their protectees, including venues located in open-carry states.
GOP front-runner Donald Trump told ABC News' Jon Karl on "This Week" on Sunday that he had not seen the petition and that he wanted to “take a look at it.”
“I have -- I have not seen the petition. I want to see what it says,” Trump said. “I want to read the fine print. I have to see what it says. I’m a very, very strong person for the Second Amendment. I like very few people are stronger. And I have to see the petition.”
The petition, posted last week on Change.org, argues that banning firearms puts the thousands of convention attendees at risk.
“This is a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk,” the petition says. “By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside the convention site.”
But Jan Gilhooly, a retired Senior USSS agent who is now the president of the Association of Former Agents, said that convention planning committees are in place for months, and that the Secret Service field offices prepare for upwards of a year, meeting with all appropriate law enforcement entities. Gilhooly was the deputy director for the 2008 and 2012 conventions.
“With their experience level, they have and are prepared for each thing that can happen,” he said.
When asked whether rally violence during this election cycle and if Trump’s claims that there may be riots surrounding the convention if he’s not chosen as the party’s nominee will effect safety and security, Gilhooly said he doesn’t anticipate this convention being more dangerous or on more high alert, and believes this convention will be handled similarly to years past.
“There have always been demonstrations, but they have been handled appropriately,” he said. “The Secret Service coordinates with all the levels of law enforcement, other federal, state, county and all municipal agencies are brought into place with a security plan.”
Firearms were also banned by the Secret Service at the Republican convention in Tampa in 2012.