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Cleveland Police Union Calls for Weapons Ban During RNC

by Tracy Connor, Jacob Rascon and Shaquille Brewster /
Image: Second Amendment supporter Steve Thacker carries an AR-15-style weapon as he talks to the media during a protest
Second Amendment supporter Steve Thacker carries an AR-15-style weapon as he talks to the media during a protest on July 17, 2016, in Cleveland.John Minchillo / AP

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CLEVELAND — The head of Cleveland's police union called Sunday for the suspension of open-carry gun laws in the city during the Republican National Convention.

Steve Loomis of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association cited the shooting death of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in urging the Ohio's governor, John Kasich, to ban guns for the week.

"This is not an attack on the Second Amendment. This is not an attack on the right to open carry," Loomis told NBC News. "We believe it is a reasonable request to protect the safety of our folks."

A statement from Kasich's office said he could not suspend the law.

"Law enforcement is a noble, essential calling and we all grieve that we've again seen attacks on officers," the statement read.

"Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested. The bonds between our communities and police must be reset and rebuilt — as we're doing in Ohio — so our communities and officers can both be safe. Everyone has an important role to play in that renewal."

Loomis noted that guns are banned in a smaller "secure zone" near the Quicken Loans Arena, where the RNC gets underway on Monday, that is overseen by the U.S. Secret Service.

Loomis had been critical of the decision to allow open carry during the RNC even before the violence in Baton Rouge on Sunday.

It's unclear how prevalent firearms will be as the convention gets underway. A gun-rights rally at one of the main protest sites on Sunday afternoon drew just two people, only one of whom was displaying a firearm.

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