Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said on 27 March that he would take a further look into an online petition calling for guns to be allowed at the GOP convention in July. The petition, which has surpassed 36,000 signatures, said the Republican National Committee and the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio is placing attendees at risk by not allowing weapons on the premises.
The change.org petition notes that Ohio is an open carry state and calls for five points of action. "By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site," the petition states.
It requests that the Quicken Loans Arena suspend their ban on weapons during the convention from 18-21 July and demands that the National Rifle Association make "an immediate condemnation" of the "'gun-free zone' loophole to the state law". While applauding Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is also running for president, for being a leader against the "gun-free zone" movement, it also calls on him to use his executive authority to override the gun-free zone loophole from being used at the Quicken Loans Arena.
In an interview on ABC's This Week, Trump said he was "a very, very strong person for Second Amendment," but said that the question regarding the petition was "the first [he'd] heard of it". The billionaire real estate mogul said he planned to read it and consider it. "I have not seen the petition," he said. "I want to see what it says. I want to read the fine print."
His response appears to be exactly what the petition creators were hoping for. While asking the RNC to explain why venue "so unfriendly to Second Amendment rights" was chosen, the petition also calls on the candidates to put pressure on the RNC to "rectify this affront to our Second Amendment freedoms".
According to CBS News, security at national political conventions has always been strict. In 2012, convention attendees to the Tampa convention were required to go through several security checkpoints and metal detectors to enter the convention venue. Firearms were also banned during the last Republican convention.
Alee Lockman, a spokesperson for the RNC, told Akron Beacon Journal that the Secret Service was working with the Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, state and federal authorities to coordinate security for the event. "They are coordinating and will be continuously refining security plans leading up to the national convention," Lockman said.