Cleveland’s police chief proclaimed his city prepared security-wise as tens of thousands of delegates, media, and protesters arrived for the Republican National Convention, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Chief Calvin Williams told CBS that security officials are ready to deal with the prospect of protesters and convention attendees carrying guns outside the convention’s primary “secure zone.”
People are allowed to have firearms in the secondary security area – called the “event zone”- and beyond because Ohio allows adults to openly carry guns. “We plan to handle them the same way as we always have,” Williams said. “Of course, we’ve ramped that up a little as far as our technique and our tactics to handle them. But in this state, everyone has the right to open carry. And we want to make sure people do that safely.”
Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, asked Ohio Gov. John Kasich to restrict the state’s open carry laws during the convention. “He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point,” Loomis told CNN. “They can fight about it after the [convention] …but I want him to absolutely outlaw open-carry in Cuyahoga County until this …is over.” Kasich said “Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested.”
Absent a change, Loomis said police will be “looking very, very hard at anyone who has an open carry.” “I couldn’t care less if it’s legal or not,” Loomis told CNN. “We are constitutional law enforcement, we love the Constitution, support it and defend it, but you can’t go into a crowded theater and scream fire. And that’s exactly what they’re doing by bringing those guns down there.