Donald Trump Responds to Petition Supporting Gun Open Carry at Republican National Convention

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Open Carry gun supporters wear guns strapped to their hips during a rally in support of the Michigan Open Carry gun law in Romulus, Michigan April 27, 2014. Reuters

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has responded to a petition signed by tens of thousands of people supporting the open carry of firearms at this summer’s Republican National Convention.

Speaking on ABC News’s  This Week on Sunday, Trump said he wants to “study the fine print” of the petition and said he hasn’t yet read it. He also referred to himself as “a very, very strong person for [the] Second Amendment.”

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The petition has been signed by more than 41,000 people who want the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, to allow guns to be openly carried during the convention, which runs from July 18 to 21. Ohio allows for firearm open carry, but certain locations in the state, including the arena, prohibit firearms anywhere on the premises.

According to the Quicken Loans Arena website: “In accordance with the Ohio’s ‘concealed carry’ law and the right for private entities to ban handguns on their premises, firearms and other weapons of any kind are strictly forbidden on the premises.”

The petition, which was launched last week, includes a photo of a military-style assault rifle and calls the arena's stance on guns "a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk." The petition is addressed to all three Republican presidential candidates, Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich, and asks them to push the Republican National Committee to allow the open carry of firearms during the convention.

The Secret Service told ABC News on Monday that “firearms will not be allowed in the Quicken Loans Arena” and “only authorized law enforcement personnel working in conjunction with the Secret Service for a particular event may carry a firearm inside of the protected site.”

While it remains unclear whether the petition is genuine or actually a satire, it is being taken seriously by many. A blog and Twitter user named Hyperationalist—whose biography states “speaking truth to stupid”—said on its Wordpress page on Thursday that it launched the petition, acknowledging that it has “clearly struck a nerve.”

The Change.org petition says “Cleveland, Ohio is consistently ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in America,” and by prohibiting guns from the arena, “the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside the convention site.” The petition also includes “the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention.”

Whether the petition is satirical or not, some user comments on the Change.org page indicate that many are taking it seriously.  

In 2015, nearly 13,000 people were killed by guns, an average of 36 people a day, according to The Trace, a news site that tracks gun violence in the U.S. Last year, a toddler shot someone about once a week.

In 2012, guns were banned at the RNC in Tampa amid the stringent security expected at political conventions. A spokesperson for the RNC told the Akron Beacon Journal last week that the Secret Service is “coordinating and will be continuously refining security plans leading up to the national convention.” 

Hyperationalist and the Quicken Loans Arena did not return Newsweek’s request for comment.