More than 20,000 supporters signed an online petition calling for open carry at the Republican National Convention slated to take place in July. The Quicken Loans Arena, where the gathering will occur, is currently a gun-free zone.
The Change.org petition’s initial goal was to collect 5,000 signatures, but since Monday it gathered four times as much. The petition was filed by a user named ‘N.A.’ from Cleveland, whose profile info remains hidden to people the member does not know.
It remains unclear whether the petition is a real attempt to back gun rights or a joke on the party’s sometimes contradicting position on the issue. Ohio GOP members said that they are not associated with the petition. The committee that will oversee the RNC also declined any link with the petition.
Republicans said that the Secret Service, the military, and a plethora of other federal and state agencies were making preparations for the event. The cost of the security this year is estimated at $50 million.
Secret Service prohibited firearms at the GOP convention in Tampa four years ago.
But the new petition argues that it is every American’s constitutional right to carry a firearm for his or her own safety. Gun-free zones are often viewed by gun rights backers as an affront to the 2nd Amendment.
The petition reads that such zones including the site where RNC will be held are “the worst and most dangerous of all lies.” Plus, it cites NRA’s belief that gun-free zones are an open invitation to ‘every insane killer’ in the U.S. as the best place to inflict maximum damage at minimum risks.
N.A. from Cleveland goes on by saying that forcing audience to leave firearms behind puts everyone in danger. Plus, the user believes that without open carry the location could be an easy target for radical extremists that may plan an attack.
According to the petition, without guns, attendees would be nothing more than “sitting ducks” at the mercy of “evil-doers, criminals” and people who simply hate the American way of life.
Paradoxically, the Quicken Loans Arena strictly prohibits the carry of guns inside the venue, despite Ohio being an open carry state.
The petition also cites Republican candidates’ pro-gun views. For instance, presidential front-runner Donald Trump pledged earlier this year that he would get rid of gun-free zones the first day in the Oval Office.
Also, Ted Cruz said in December that gun-free zones are the perfect hunting ground for ‘lunatics’ who seek easy, unarmed targets.
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