Following the fatal shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge on Sunday, the head of Cleveland’s police union has called on Ohio governor John Kasich to temporarily suspend the state’s open carry gun laws during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. But Governor Kasich has refused, saying that to do so would be unconstitutional.
In his statement on the matter, as transcribed in the New York Times, Kasich said that relations between the police and communities needed to improve but not by infringing upon constitutional rights:
“Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested,” Ms. Kalmbach said. “The bonds between our communities and police must be reset and rebuilt — as we’re doing in Ohio — so our communities and officers can both be safe. Everyone has an important role to play in that renewal.”
This statement was in response to Stephen Loomis, the head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, who called for a ban on open-carry in Cuyahoga County where Cleveland is located. Loomis told CNN that he didn’t care if suspending this law was constitutional or not. Ohio currently allows anybody who legally owns a gun to carry it out in the open. Though the Secret Service has banned firearms within Quicken Loans Arena (where the RNC will take place) the rest of the city, including the 1.7-mile “event zone” around the convention, is still fair game for gun owners.
Even without this ban, Loomis said that police officers would be scrutinizing anybody practicing open-carry during the RNC. He also called for the chief of police to have officers patrol together for their own safety. Republican National Convention CEO Jeff Larson added that security was confident that they could protect people during the event, despite the open-carry laws in place.