The head of the Cleveland police patrolmen's union is asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to suspend the state's open carry laws in Cuyahoga County for the Republican National Convention in the wake of the deaths of three police officers in Louisiana, according to WJW-TV. The station reported Sunday that union president Steve Loomis said he is working with an attorney to draft a request to be sent to Kasich for consideration. Reuters reported Loomis asked the governor to declare a state of emergency, which would allow Kasich to immediately suspend the law.
As the Republican National Convention gets underway, local officials and Cleveland law enforcement are doing everything they can to ensure public safety. As we discussed last week, those efforts led to creation of a broad zone around the convention site in which a variety of items have already been banned, including "water guns, toy guns, knives, aerosol cans, rope, [and] tennis balls" among other things.
But actual firearms are not on that list for a reason: the law in Ohio protects the right of protesters to carry loaded guns outside the venue. Toy guns are prohibited, but real semi-automatics are fine.
As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported over the weekend, local police believe it's time for state officials to create a temporary policy to help keep everyone safe.
Loomis told CNN that he did not care "if it's constitutional or not."
It didn't take long for Ohio's Republican governor, who helped create the state's open-carry law, to reject the appeal. "Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested," Kasich's office said.
If this dynamic seems at all familiar, there's a good reason. At roughly this point in 2012, local officials in Tampa banned all kinds of items outside the Republican National Convention, but they couldn't restrict guns.
They urged Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to declare an emergency and make an exception to the state law in the interest of security and public safety. Scott refused.
Four years later, here we are again.