CLEVELAND – The head of Cleveland’s police union is asking Ohio Governor John Kasich to suspend the state’s open carry law in light of a series of police shootings, including one Sunday that killed three officers in Louisiana.
The Republican National Convention began Monday in Cleveland with an unprecedented amount of security.
“We are sending a letter to Gov. Kasich requesting assistance from him. He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point,” Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, told CNN. “They can fight about it after the RNC or they can lift it after the RNC, but I want him to absolutely outlaw open carry in Cuyahoga County until this RNC is over.”
Kasich, a Republican, responded by saying he did not have the power “to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested.”
“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,” Kasich said.
Loomis, concerned about protests outside the convention and about police becoming targets, said officers would view open carry guns with suspicion.
“We are going to be looking very, very hard at anyone who has an open carry,” he said. “An AR-15, a shotgun, multiple handguns. It’s irresponsible of those folks — especially right now — to be coming downtown with open carry ARs or anything else. I couldn’t care less if it’s legal or not. We are constitutional law enforcement, we love the Constitution, support it and defend it, but you can’t go into a crowded theater and scream fire. And that’s exactly what they’re doing by bringing those guns down there.”
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