Should guns be permitted at the Republican National Convention?

Clearly, allowing guns at a crowded political convention is a dangerous idea. Is this supported by the Party of Common Sense?

Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Home of the Cleveland Cavaliers... and the 2016 Republican Convention. (Image via Wikipedia entry on the arena, CC 2.0)

NEW CASTLE, Pa., March 28, 2016 – “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Party of Common Sense?The failure to defend the civil liberties of one is a failure to defend the civil liberties of all. This is particularly true when it is inconvenient or offensive to do so. For the sake of ease and self-interest, it is tempting to simply reason away the rights of others, or even deny their existence. Yet the failure to defend the freedoms of others undermines the freedoms of everyone.

Just as free speech and religious freedom from government persecution are civil liberties, so is the right to own and bear arms.

With that in mind, tens of thousands of people have signed a petition requesting that Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland allow attendees to carry guns during the National Republican Convention.

Gun Rights Versus Security and Safety

The petition argues that the presence of guns in the crowded arena is necessary to keep people safe. Aside from making it easier for potential terrorists and killers to bring weapons into the convention, the sheer number of people who will be attending the convention or thronging outside the venue will likely make it impossible to safely discharge any lethal firearm — that is, unless a shooter is attempting to assassinate someone on a stage with sniper rifle.

Screenshot from
Screenshot of petition via

The sheer number of people with guns would, of course, increase the likelihood of an accidental discharge and incidences of massive friendly fire. In other words, people could either accidentally fire their weapons or fire their weapons at someone who is deemed “threatening.”  During what is assuredly going to be a heated event this summer, tempers are sure to flare, risking that the presence of guns will quickly translate into gun violence.

Clearly, allowing guns at a crowded political convention is a dangerous idea. Anyone who truly respects the Second Amendment and the dangers of guns at a massive public event recognizes the foolishness of such measures.

Sadly, the current state of Republican politics is so dysfunctional and thoughtless that this bit of “common sense” is lost on them. What this example demonstrates is the manner in which the GOP thoughtlessly clings to ideologies applied without any regard for practicality.

This is why the Republican Party finds itself in the middle of an identity crisis.

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Fortunately, Second Amendment protections do not guard against nongovernmental carry bans and other restrictions at privately-held venues. The staff at the Quicken Loans Arena can simply ignore the petition as they should.

Because the Second Amendment does not provide an absolute right to own guns nor does it specifically define gun rights, there is plenty of wiggle room to address gun safety concerns. Clearly, allowing largely unrestricted weapons into a crowded building during an event with a very real potential for violence is one example where public safety is a major concern. In such a case, only trained and licensed security guards and the police should be carrying firearms.

The State of Ohio and the U.S. government are well within the limits of their constitutional powers to tell Cleveland convention-goers to check their guns at the door.

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