Concerns about open carry during Republican National Convention

Protest groups, guns and the unknown

CLEVELAND - Ohio is an open-carry state. That means as long as you have a permit, you can openly display an assault rifle in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention.

However, guns will not be allowed inside Quicken Loans Arena and other special security zones that were established by the U.S. Secret Service.

Last Thursday, some of the protesters in Dallas were carrying automatic weapons on the streets.

After the deadly shootings began, police couldn't tell who was a potential killer and who was a citizen asserting his or her Second Amendment rights.

The same thing happened last month in Arlington, Texas. Protesters on the street were openly carrying rifles and AR-15 weapons.

According to the Reuters News Service, the chairman of the New Black Panthers Party, Hashim Nzinga, claimed that his members would be carrying guns this weekend during protests and demonstrations in Cleveland.

After his comments were made public, Nzinga changed his public position and said New Black Panther Party representatives would not be armed in Cleveland.

READ MORE | Report: New Black Panthers to carry guns during RNC

Steve Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Union, is concerned about the danger for the public and the police officers on the street.

“You know Trump supporters are saying they are going to bring guns, too,” said Loomis. “This is not where we need all these guns given the world we are living in right now, mistakes can be made very, very easily.”

During a special RNC security briefing Wednesday, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams admitted that Ohio law allows gun owners the right to openly carry their weapons. But he said there are important limitations.

“Just because you can carry openly, doesn't mean you can pull that weapon out or show that weapon or brandish that weapon,” said Williams. “If you menace anybody, you’ve broken the law."

Outside the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Union Hall, Loomis shook his head and said, “Yes, it's their legal right to do it, but we would ask that they don't. Everybody leave the guns at home.”


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