White House reporter Connie Lawn asked press secretary Josh Earnest if he was concerned about Ohio’s open carry laws and the high number of guns that could be present at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week.
Earnest said that the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service have been on the ground both in Philadelphia, where the Democratic convention will take place, and Cleveland to ensure that everyone attending is safe.
"Homeland security officials have been in close touch with local law enforcement in Ohio and Pennsylvania to ensure the safety and security of not just the party nominees but the convention delegates and the reporters who will be in attendance," Earnest said. "I know their efforts are also focused on the First Amendment rights of people who may want to register a protest at the conventions. Those rights will certainly be protected."
Earnest said that President Obama’s expectations of the protestors is that their demonstrations are done in a peaceful manner and that law enforcement will be there to ensure that happens.
NBC News reported that Cleveland police prefer that people attending the Republican National Convention do not bring their firearms, but it it is legal for them to do so.
"It’s the law in this state and as police chief, I’m bound to uphold the law in this state," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said.
No firearms will be allowed in the secure zone inside the Quicken Loans Arena and the area right outside. Those areas are controlled by Secret Service. The larger area outside of the arena will allow the open carry of firearms, but items including knives and paintball guns will be prohibited.
The Democratic National Convention website has firearms listed as a prohibited item along with a list of other items, including selfie sticks.