More on guns at the RNC convention

Although the petition to allow guns into the RNC convention center has been denied by the US Secret Service, that has not ended the matter because the question arises as to what happens outside the Quicken Loans Arena that are after all public spaces where Ohio’s laws allow people to carry weapons openly or concealed. The city government and security services are grappling with this question and expect to issue guidelines by June.

Apparently the Secret Service can authorize gun-free zones even outside the arena, within what it can declare to be a ‘security perimeter’.

Typically at major political conventions, law enforcement officials establish two levels of security. The U.S. Secret Service oversees security within a physical high-security perimeter surrounding primary convention sites. Secret Service officials have said — like in past years — that guns will be banned within the security perimeter that is expected to surround Quicken Loans Arena, the main convention site.

But then city police typically enforce a secondary level of heightened security — sometimes referred to as a “clean zone” or “event zone” — in nearby areas.

In 2012, Tampa banned items within its 8.1 square-mile “event zone” including masks, brass knuckles, clubs and water guns when the Florida city hosted that year’s Republican National Convention, according to the Tampa Bay Times. But the city permitted people to carry licensed, concealed firearms in the same area after Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected a request from Democratic Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for a temporary gun ban.

Interestingly, for the RNC convention held in Tampa in 2012, the city banned people from bringing in items such as “large pieces of steel or lumber, aerosol cans, coolers, camping gear, fireworks, bottles, cans and thermoses” but could not ban actual weapons since state law protects people’s right to carry them.

So if Cleveland ends up adopting rules similar to Tampa, you can scrap plans to take along anything that would enable you to have a picnic downtown while watching the activities but you can take with you anything that might contribute to a gunfight.


  1. johnson catman says

    Ummm . . . yay?!

    I think it is totally hypocritical of republicans, who encourage guns where most reasonable people think they should be banned (such as schools), are hiding behind the Secret Service decree that guns not be allowed at their convention. They obviously know that the hot tempers that are going to be present INSIDE the arena would lead to undesirable effects. Especially considering that the leading candidate actively encourages violence from his supporters.

  2. anat says

    They keep telling us that more guns equals more safety. Now the Secret Service is saying the opposite. Considering how they speak of scientists, I guess the response to anyone pointing out the incongruity is ‘I’m not a security expert, I don’t know, my feeling is we need to hear the alternative viewpoint’?

  3. lanir says

    Picnic paraphernalia is well known to have strong detrimental effects. Look at what it does to ants. The poor things swarm all over it and scrabble for every scrap as though they have no control. Imagine that infecting people!

    Having a firearm on the other hand makes you a Good Guy with a Gun until your obvious incompetence, gun safety training, or psychopathic issues prove otherwise.

    Hmm. A possible solution I wonder if they’ll be clever enough to implement. Organize a specific area for 2nd Amendment cheerleaders. If they have half a brain the party or the candidates will highlight that nearby area after it’s designated as a place to stand tall and say what’s important to you (guns). They would get to have their cake and eat it too by encouraging their followers to protest the Secret Service orders they are so desperately relieved to be operating under.

  4. Jockaira says

    Lanir, your idea has merit, but only if the designated area is miles away from the convention site in a rural setting with high hills or other bullet-proof barriers at the perimeter. Then if the gun wavers were to lose control of themselves, the damage could be contained just to those wiilling to “pay the price.”

    Full disclosure: I own guns and consider myself to be responsible thereby. I would never consider going armed into an area controlled by the Secret Service. It’s just too easy to be arrested solely on suspicion of being a “bad guy.” Besides, why would one need to be prepared for deadly defense in an area controlled by an organisation dedicated to suppression of violence by sometimes deadly means. Accidents happen, and I don’t want to be one of them.

  5. sonofrojblake says

    Tampa banned items within its 8.1 square-mile “event zone” including masks

    So… no observant Wahhabist Muslim women allowed then?


    They keep telling us that more guns equals more safety. Now the Secret Service is saying the opposite

    No, they don’t -- not if you’re honest. The argument is: in a normal public place, where you have no idea who’s carrying what and with what intention, more “good guys with guns” = more safety, which is why gun fondlers want their guns on them -- they consider themselves good guys.

    But in a convention centre within a perimeter controlled by the Secret Service, the situation changes completely. You KNOW with a reasonable degree of certainty that all the public in that area are unarmed. You further know that, even if one person does manage to smuggle in a weapon, that there are lots and lots of armed people around, and those armed people trained, current, and highly motivated to remove that threat. In a situation where you know all those things, the most ardent gun fondler knows they are, rationally, safer WITHOUT their gun, because it removes the possibility that they’ll be misidentified as a bad guy.

    I say all this from the perspective of a UK citizen who finds the concept of allowing civilians access to semi-automatic weapons and handguns baffling. Civilians have legitimate uses for bolt-action rifles and shotguns -- nothing else.

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