Firearms will not be welcome at the Republican National Convention, the US secret service has said. The statement is in response to an online petition calling for guns to be allowed inside the venue in Cleveland, Ohio.
The US Secret Service said Monday it would enforce a ban on guns at the party convention in July as it's tasked to protect presidential candidates as well as presidents and former presidents.
"Individuals determined to be carrying firearms will not be allowed past a predetermined outer perimeter checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a ticket to the event," agency spokesman Robert Hoback said.
The agency's written statement was in response to a petition calling for firearms to be allowed into the Quicken Loans Arena during the convention in Ohio, a state that permits guns to be carried openly in public.
"With this irresponsible and hypocritical act of selecting a 'gun-free zone' for the convention, the RNC has placed its members, delegates, candidates and all US citizens in grave danger," reads the petition, which had drawn more than 48,000 signatories by Tuesday.
The petition's creator - identified as Hyperationalist on Twitter - apparently wrote the petition to lampoon the support among many within the Republican Party for virtually unfettered individual rights to firearms. The right to bear arms - enshrined in the US Constituton - is an emotive and polarizing issue in the country.
For those passionate about Constitutional rights to bear arms, the petition appeals to the argument that openly carrying a firearm wards off threats. For those who oppose it, it speaks to fears connected with the frequency of gun violence in the US.
Ohio governor not taking the bait
A spokesman for Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, brushed off calls for the governor to use his executive authority to override the arena's decision to be a "gun-free zone."
"At this point, the Secret Service has already weighed in and whoever is the force behind this petition probably should have gone to the Secret Service from the get-go," Rob Nichols, a Kasich spokesman said.
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who supports making concealed pistol permits valid in all 50 states, has not taken a position on the petition, saying he first wants to see the fine print.
jar/gsw (Reuters, AP)