Republicans hate gun-free zones, so why are they holding their convention in one? A petition pushing to change that has now gathered more than 42,000 signatures:
The petition calls on each Republican presidential contender, the National Rifle Association, the Republican National Committee and Chairman Reince Priebus, convention host site Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to do what they can to allow convention attendees to openly carry firearms. The arena currently bans firearms and other weapons, it says on its website.
"Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life," the petition's author argues. Some have speculated that such dramatic language makes it sound as though the whole thing is a ruse intended to put Republicans in a tough political spot.
Gosh, you think? But that doesn’t make it easier for Republicans who’ve lamented prohibitions (real or imagined) on guns at the sites of various mass shootings to turn around and say no, not when it’s our safety at stake. Sunday, Donald Trump claimed ignorance of the petition to avoid saying if he supported the general idea of open carry at the RNC, saying “I'm a very, very strong person for Second Amendment. I think very few people are stronger. And I have to see the petition. But I'm not going to comment to you when I haven't seen it.”
Luckily for them, the Republican candidates may be bailed out by the Secret Service:
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.
Too bad. It would’ve been fun to watch them squirm a little longer.