Can You Take Guns To The Republican Convention? The Secret Service Has The Final Say
Attendees to the Republican National Convention next week in Cleveland, Ohio, will probably end up talking about guns at some point in the formal nominating process, but they won't be bringing any into the event with them. Despite a popular online petition to the contrary, the Secret Service has made sure that you can't bring guns to the Republican convention, where party leaders, delegates, and, of course, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will be gathered to kick off the general election. Although Republicans tend to favor gun-friendly policies, the Secret Service seems to have the final say.
The Secret Service has actually said for months that it would not allow guns into the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, where the convention will be held. In some states, the Secret Service may not have even needed to announce that decision, but Ohio is an open-carry state. In other words, Ohio does not have a law that prohibits its citizens from openly carrying a firearm, except in certain places, as the National Rifle Association (NRA) reports.
The Secret Service, however, will be on site at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, as its duties include protecting major presidential and vice presidential candidates. For security reasons, the force has prohibited attendees from bringing guns.
Aside from the Secret Service, the venue itself does not allow guns to be carried onto its facilities. According to the arena's website, "firearms and other weapons of any kind are strictly forbidden on the premises." A Change.org petition that has been online for about four months asks the Quicken Loans Arena to allow guns during the convention. The petition has more than 55,000 supporters. There have been claims that the petition was actually created ironically by a Democrat — but either way, it doesn't seem like the effort to allow guns at the GOP's nominating convention would get very far off the ground, thanks to the venue and the Secret Service.
The Secret Service has taken steps elsewhere to make the conventions more secure, as well. For instance, the media in attendance will have to undergo in-depth background checks, as if they were visiting the White House. Media who undergo and pass the background check ahead of time may get Secret Service credentials that give them access to backstage areas. They'll also have a more direct entrance into the arena.
All in all, the GOP convention is expected to host almost 5,000 delegates and alternate delegates, as well as around 15,000 members of the media. Although guns won't be allowed, the GOP's top members will likely discuss policies related to guns, the economy, foreign policy, and, of course, the party's nominee for the general election. Then, a matter of days later, the Democrats will host a convention of their own in Philadelphia.