The U.S. Secret Service said no Monday to allowing firearms inside this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, dashing the hopes of tens of thousands of people who’d signed a petition to let non-law-enforcement individuals carry guns inside the event’s arena.
“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,” said Kevin Dye, a Secret Service spokesman. “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.”
As of Monday, nearly 46,000 people had signed a petition on Change.org requesting that convention attendees be allowed to carry guns into the Quicken Loans Arena, noting that Ohio is an open-carry state.
The petition was posted anonymously last week but it quickly picked up enough steam. Some have suggested that it’s a fake, a case of online trolling. Still, the Secret Service felt compelled to weigh in on it and the Republican presidential contenders responded when asked about it.
Title 18 United States Code Sections 3056 and 1752 provides the Secret Service authority to preclude firearms from entering sites visited by our protectees, including those located in open-carry states
Kevin Dye, a Secret Service spokesman
“I have not seen the petition. I want to see what it says,” Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “I’m a very, very strong person for the 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.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, speaking after a campaign event in Wisconsin on Monday, said “All that matters is what the Secret Service says,” The Washington Post reported.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told the newspaper he hasn’t seen the petition. He added that the “Secret Service is going to have the principal decision-making concerning security and so that you would certainly want to get the recommendation from Secret Service – how to maintain security for everyone.”
Both Cruz and Trump have been critical about so-called “gun-free zones.”
Campaigning in Iowa in December shortly after a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Cruz said, “Has anyone in this room noticed shooting after shooting happens in so-called gun-free zones?”
Trump, campaigning in Vermont in January, vowed, “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools and . . . on military bases,”
“My first day, it gets signed, OK? My first day,” he said in Burlington. “There’s no more gun-free zones.”
Following a policy review last year, Kasich allowed Ohio National Guard members to carry firearms at the state’s 72 facilities.