If we’re going to have a floor fight, let’s do it right.
Jokes aside, the Secret Service is doing Reince and the RNC a favor here by throwing their own authority behind the gun ban at the convention.
Kevin Dye, spokesperson for the U.S. Secret Service, points out that the gun ban on the premises during the convention is perfectly legal and will not change.
“Title 18 United States Code Sections 3056 and 1752, provides the Secret Service authority to preclude firearms from entering sites visited by our protectees, including those located in open-carry states,” Dye said. Under this code, only authorized law-enforcement personnel working in conjunction with the Secret Service for an event may carry a firearm inside of a protected site.
“The Secret Service works closely with our local law enforcement partners in each state to ensure a safe environment for our protectees and the public,” Dye added. “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.”
You could try challenging those laws on Second Amendment grounds but good luck with a 4-4 Court whose next appointee is highly likely to be a liberal, whether Merrick Garland or someone of Hillary Clinton’s choosing. (The celebrated Heller decision recognizing an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment was limited to a single handgun for protection of one’s own home.) Without those federal statutes, though, this might have been a knotty political problem in the making for managers of the convention. Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland bars guns on the premises, which flies in the face of conservative orthodoxy that “gun-free zones” — at least ones not patrolled by heavy contingents of local and federal police — are more vulnerable to crime than ones where everyone’s carrying. If the arena wouldn’t agree to relax its rules, why should the Republican Party do business with it? A petition at Change.org demanding open carry at the convention is closing in on 50,000 signatures as I write this, in fact. How much longer would it have been, absent the Secret Service’s intervention, before Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan started facing questions about this?
One catch about the petition, though: It’s a goof. As noted by the Hill, the guy responsible for it has spent the last few days retweeting people laughing themselves sick at the thought of a bitterly divided GOP, whose frontrunner has already predicted riots if he’s denied the nomination, carrying live weapons past cops in riot gear into a small confined space to settle their intractable political differences.
GOP going open-carry at its convention will get my attention. They go open-carry/open-bar they'll have my admiration. #doubledogdare
— David Simon (@AoDespair) March 28, 2016
— Jay Marcyes (@jaymon) March 27, 2016
I was just thinking, "what the GOP primary needs is armed individuals gathered at the peak moment of conflict." pic.twitter.com/GvsQwIYpLC
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) March 25, 2016
Trump and Cruz both dodged when asked about the petition yesterday, before the Secret Service stepped in. Thus ends an unusually clever example of lefty trolling, unless of course Trump and Cruz decide to try to one-up each other in proving who’s a bigger Second Amendment fan by eschewing any Secret Service protection at the convention so that attendees can carry. Team Trump’s got the numbers in a firefight but I think Team Cruz is probably more heavily armed. Exit question: Is the idea of open carry at the convention the best argument yet for Trump clinching before Cleveland?