A petition started on change.org in favor of open carry at the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) has become controversial for both political parties.
With the RNC set to take place in Cleveland, it is no surprise that members of both the College Democrats and College Republicans at Kent State have thoughts on the topic.
The author of the petition, Jim (who has chosen not to share his name because of threats) came out in a Rolling Stone article as being a Democrat who supports open carry at the convention. Though he admits that enacting an open carry policy would be a safety nightmare, his goal is to portray gun advocate candidates as hypocritical for not supporting the idea.
Jennifer Hutchinson, president of the College Republicans, does not view this as a contradiction.
“I think a lot of it just has to do with the setting itself,”she said. “I don’t think that for somebody to not want to have a gun at this event contradicts their pro-gun beliefs.”
As a result of several protests and rallies throughout the election cycle, security has been a top priority. With circulating that Donald Trump does not have the support of the Republican Party, paired with the possibility of him losing the nomination and his history of notoriously rowdy rallies, it seems clear that allowing open carry at the RNC could lead to serious problems.
“If you have people with guns at the convention and Trump doesn’t get the nomination, or the GOP does something to give the nomination to someone else, it could lead to a lot of bad things,” said Taras Ustrytskyy, a junior journalism major and member of the College Democrats. “There’s no good that can come of it.”
Though the Secret Service has stated that there will not be open carry at the convention, the debate continues to rage.
Anthony Calvaruso is the student politics reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]