News & Politics

Cleveland Police Union Asks for Suspension of Open Carry in Wake of Baton Rouge

The Cleveland police union is calling on Governor Kasich to temporarily restrict the state’s open carry law in the wake of the apparent targeted assassination of several law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge.

Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, sounds genuinely concerned about the safety of police.

CNN:

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 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.”

State law in Ohio allows for licensed firearm owners to wear their weapons in public. With the exception of a small “secure zone” inside and around the Quicken Loans Arena, residents, delegates and protesters are legally permitted to walk around the city — including within its 1.7 square mile regulated “event zone” — any firearm not explicitly banned by the state.

Kasich, responding to the request, said: “Ohio governors do 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,” he said.

Mr. Loomis sounds desperate. He doesn’t care if it’s constitutional? Thankfully, Governor Kasich does.

And Loomis is threatening to conduct what sounds like illegal inspections:

Loomis also said officers here would begin ramping up inspections and oversight over anyone who is holstering a weapon entering the downtown area, where the Republican convention is scheduled to begin on Monday.

“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 AR’s 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.”

I guess in the name of “security” just about anything is legal, but these “inspections” sound like harassment.

But you can understand his concern. There are going to be Black Lives Matter demonstrators, communists, anarchists, pro-illegal immigration supporters, New Black Panther Party members, and a host of others who would like nothing better than to embarrass Republicans by starting a street fight with Trump supporters. They’ve shown themselves to be  perfectly capable of violence at Trump rallies across the country.

I don’t think the notion that many of their targets will be armed would deter them in the slightest. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if many of the counter demonstrators opposing Trump would be armed themselves. The potential for tragedy is real, but is the answer tossing the Constitution and conducting harassing searches?

The Constitution should be strong enough to weather just about anything. It survived the Civil War mostly intact (Lincoln, on occasion, shredded it). It will survive Cleveland, no matter what happens. You’d like to think there would be mutual restraint, and maybe there will be. But you have to hope that Loomis’s concerns don’t turn into tragic reality that will scar the election and our politics.