As the Republican National Convention gets underway in Cleveland, the tension surrounding the open carry of firearms is still on the rise. After weeks of violence – from Dallas to Baton Rouge – the extremist, unsafe NRA-worldview of guns for anyone, anywhere, at any time is catching the attention of Ohioans as gun extremists plan to hit the streets of the convention while openly carrying firearms.
In the midst of the worst mass shooting of law enforcement officers in Dallas earlier this month, police officers struggled to distinguish between people legally carrying guns and the gunman who had opened fire. And in the wake of Baton Rouge where another three police officers were killed, along with several others who were injured, the head of the Cleveland police union, Steve Loomis, called for the suspension of open carry gun laws in the city during the convention this week.
But just how did we get here? The NRA has long pushed a dangerous worldview that one must be armed to the teeth in everyday life to protect themselves – which translates into its support for open carry policies, while simultaneously stripping permitting and training requirement for anyone who wants to carry a gun.
What’s more – not only do Ohio laws allow people to openly carry assault rifles and other guns in public without a permit or safety training, but they also prevent cities like Cleveland from adopting their own common-sense public safety protections. Ohio is one of 42 states across the country that have one of these “firearm preemption laws” on the books—a result of an NRA campaign to pass these laws state-by-state that started in the 1980s. Now, taking it a step further, the NRA is pushing new punitive measures that threaten fines, criminal penalties, and even removal from office for local officials in cities with gun-related ordinances. Some of these laws even go so far as to authorize out-of-state gun lobby groups to sue cities and officials—at taxpayer expense. These laws tie the hands of law enforcement and city officials and they play right into the gun lobby’s “guns everywhere, no question asked” agenda.
For more information on the risk open carry poses to public safety and the unfair burden it places on law enforcement in addition to how these laws tie into the gun lobby’s “guns everywhere” agenda, please check out this note that went out last week in the wake of the Dallas shooting linked here and below.
For more information on the preemption laws and how they negatively affect our local officials’ ability to enact public safety measures, please check out this fact sheet linked here.
As NRA-backed spokespeople – from Donald Trump, to the NRA’s very own Chris Cox take to the stage at the RNC, Everytown for Gun Safety has policy experts and gun violence prevention advocates at the ready to respond –please don’t hesitate to reach out.