Reason has prevailed!
Guns will not be permitted at the Republican National Convention in July in Cleveland.
Perhaps this has not been on your radar, what with the embarrassing squabbling between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz over their wives, Trump’s campaign manager being arrested for battery on a reporter, the total lack of any intelligent response from either man in the aftermath of the terrorist bombings in Brussels, and all the GOP candidates venomously attacking their rivals, then vowing to support the eventual nominee, and now repudiating that pledge.
Even so, more than 50,000 people have signed a petition demanding that guns be in the sulfurous mix when Republicans gather July 18-21, which some can foresee as being something like a zombie apocalypse movie.
Ignoring the fact that Trump rallies have frequently turned violent (or perhaps because of that), so many Americans are terrified of losing the Second Amendment that protects the right to bear arms that they want to see gun-toting delegates swaggering around Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, commonly known as “The Q.”
Ohio, my home state, is an open-carry state. It is not unusual to see good ole boys with assault rifles in their pickups parked in Wal-Mart parking lots. Guns carried in motor vehicles must be unloaded and secured. Ammunition must be in a separate compartment. If you have alcohol in your system above the legal limit, you are not permitted to have a firearm in your vehicle or on your person. Guns are not permitted in establishments that serve alcohol; businesses may ban guns on their premises. But people who legally own a firearm may carry it loaded with or without a license. (But not in the statehouse in Columbus – lawmakers are not completely clueless.)
The Q has a policy against guns or weapons of any kind on the premises, and that has enraged a number of gun advocates. Petitioners are urging Ohio Gov. and presidential hopeful John Kasich to use his executive authority to permit guns at the arena, which holds about 20,000 people.
Surprisingly, or not, the three GOP presidential candidates left standing, Trump, Cruz and Kasich, were initially noncommittal, even ambivalent, about the petition and the idea of guns at the convention. They are terrified of getting on the wrong side of gun advocates, who see any curb on gun sales, ownership or possession as the camel’s nose under the tent to total loss of their weapons.
Convention officials shot the whole thing over to the Secret Service, which handles security at the national political conventions. The immediate and quite obvious answer was, “No guns.” Despite the problems the Secret Service has been having, what with knife-wielding crazy people getting inside the White House and far too much partying going on among some agents, the service is not stupid. They put their lives on the line every day but are not going to let angry people who don’t believe in political correctness, civility or polite discourse carry guns near the candidates or themselves.
Guns and Cleveland have a touchy recent history. In 2014, police shot and killed a 12-year-old child, Tamir Rice, who had a toy pellet gun in a city park. The U.S. Department of Justice investigation concluded that officers in Cleveland are too quick to shoot and beat suspects and rarely face consequences for their actions. The two officers involved in the shooting were not indicted.
The FBI says Cleveland ranks as the fifth most dangerous city in the nation because of crime. The violent crime rate is 1,478 per 100,000 people (Cleveland has a population of 389,000) and a murder rate of 14 per 100,000 people. The median household income is $26,556; one-third of all its residents are below the federal poverty line.
Republicans chose the city for their convention because no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying the state of Ohio
There is so much confusion, chaos, silliness and idle speculation already going on more than 100 days before Cleveland and the real possibility of rancorous debate and actual fighting over the nomination, that it is somehow reassuring to have a simple, well-reasoned answer to at least one issue. No guns.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.