Ohio is an open carry state, but this past weekend, the Ohio police officers union pleaded with Ohio Governor John Kasich to declare a state of emergency and suspend open display of firearms during the Republican National Convention. Kasich said he lacked the legal authority to suspend the laws. And during the weekend, pro-gun rights advocates have already been seen at the convention site sporting AR-15s.
Should we be concerned about open carry at the RNC?
The nation is on edge following the Orlando shooting, and after weeks of police shootings of unarmed Black civilians, protests, racial tensions, and the shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Trump's rallies have been flashpoints for race and immigration-based violence, and many fear that the mix of incendiary rhetoric, anger and plentiful guns could result in more violence at the convention. As Reuters reports, weapons are not permitted on the convention floor, but: "In the so-called event zone at the Republican convention, a 1.7-square-mile area, authorities have banned items such as tennis balls, steel-pointed umbrellas and wood posts, but firearms are permitted under state law."
Others have argued that responsible gun owners have not caused the violence of the past months, and that they will not be a problem at the convention. An armed society is a peaceful society. According to Ohio's laws, anyone can open carry; there is no permit or application required. But you do need a permit for a concealed handgun. It's better if the weaponry is out there for everyone to see and it would be an overstepping of government to change the laws without a true state of emergency.
Many are furious that more isn't being done to adhere to police requests for safety. Critics are pointing out how the Second Amendment can actually endanger our law enforcement. Cleveland's cops are begging the governor for help, and saying it will be very bad to add guns to an already tense mix. If they're worried, shouldn't we be?
Many have pointed out the racial disparity in how open carry is perceived. Will it be OK when the New Black Panthers show up to the convention armed?
People have been open carrying and so far, everything is peaceful.