A leading gun control group encouraged its supporters on Friday to sign an online petition to allow tennis balls at the Republican National Convention and tweet under the hashtag #FreeBallin.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence expressed its support for #FreeBallin through its official account on Twitter. "W/ the GOP convention OH is saying bring ur guns but leave ur tennis balls at home," the group tweeted. "Sign the petition! #Freeballin"
— Brady Campaign (@Bradybuzz) July 15, 2016
The petition the tweet links to complains that firearms will be legally allowed during protests at the convention in Cleveland, Ohio, while a number of other weapons and seemingly random items, like tennis balls, will be banned.
"The Cleveland ban on tennis balls surrounding the GOP convention is an affront to millions of law abiding players around the country," the petition said in an apparent attempt at sarcasm. "At first it didn’t make sense. Guns are allowed in the event area, but not tennis balls? How come some enthusiasts can share their sport with the public and we can’t?"
Cleveland is bound by state laws protecting the open carry of firearms.
"Our intent is to follow the law," Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson told CNN. "And if the law says you can have open carry, that’s what it says. Whether I agree with it or not is another issue."
Tennis balls and other items banned by the city are not subject to similar protections under Ohio law. The petition pushed by the Brady Campaign mockingly called for laws to protect the open carry of tennis balls.
"So gunmen are protected, but tennis players are not," the petition said. "Come on, this is 2016. The State of Ohio should immediately take up and pass legislation to restore to Ohioans their right to open carry tennis balls in public."
The petition went on to list three reasons why the law should be changed. Each reason is a parody of a common pro-gun argument. The petition ended by saying they will not stop until their demands are met.
"We won’t stop until justice is served and every Ohioan is #freeballin’."
At the time of publication, the petition has 53 signatures.