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Nearly 50,000 people have signed a petition at Change.org demanding that the Republican National Convention allow attendees to openly carry firearms:

In July of 2016, the GOP will host its convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Though Ohio is an open carry state, which allows for the open carry of guns, the hosting venue—the Quicken Loans Arena—strictly forbids the carry of firearms on their premises.

According to the policy on their website, “firearms and other weapons of any kind are strictly forbidden on the premises of Quicken Loans Arena.”

This is a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk. As the National Rifle Association has made clear, “gun-free zones” such as the Quicken Loans Arena are “the worst and most dangerous of all lies.” The NRA, our leading defender of gun rights, has also correctly pointed out that “gun free zones… tell every insane killer in America… (the) safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”

The Secret Service has already said there will be no guns at the convention:

In a statement emailed to POLITICO, a spokesman for the Secret Service said the group has the “authority to preclude firearms from entering sites visited by our protectees, including those located in open-carry states. 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.”

But remember Republicans love guns and claim the second amendment is always just this close to being eliminated. So how have those staunch defenders of the right to bear arms reacted? Well, Donald Trump said he needs to “read the fine print” of the petition before he makes a decision:

While proclaiming himself “a very, very strong person for Second Amendment,” the Republican front-runner told ABC’s This Week that “I have not seen the petition. I want to see what it says. I want to read the fine print.”

Meanwhile over at the National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke explains why guns aren’t a great idea at the convention. He outlines three reasons: 1) It’s not a violation of the second amendment for a privately-owned venue to preclude firearms. 2) There are occasions where gun-free zones are appropriate. 3) Donald Trump is a lunatic, so who knows what his supporters would do.

Now, before I launch into Cooke’s hypocrisy, I just want to remind everyone of the times the National Review told us that gun-free zones or ‘safe spaces’ were the worst thing ever to happen to America, ever. But I digress. Here’s Cooke in his own words:

As absurd as the idea of “gun free zones” is in a country with this many firearms, there are certain circumstances in which it is prudent to try to limit the presence of guns… [A] political convention strikes me as being less akin to those examples, and more akin to, say, the circumstances that obtain at a polling place. And the argument against carry strikes me as being less “people will shoot each other for no reason” and more “we need to make sure that the results aren’t marred by charges of intimidation.”

So gun-free zones are stupid unless there’s a chance that those carrying the guns intimidate people into doing things they don’t want to.

But wait a second. The argument against carry isn’t “people will shoot each other for no reason,” even though Cooke follows up with this:

Given the brazen manner in which Donald Trump has encouraged physical violence against those who have protested at his rallies — “next time, we might have to kill him,” one Trump fan warned a man he sucker punched — there is pretty much no incentive for the Quicken Loans Arena team to be generous here. Generally speaking, I am of the view that trying to stop shootings by putting up signs is the most abject of human folly. But with this guy? As is the case with most of the pillars of free and civil society, liberalized carry laws presume a certain degree of responsibility and trust — a degree that has, alas, not been on display from Trump and the more excitable among his followers. Why, exactly, would the venue’s management take the risk?

Emphasis mine. Doesn’t the liberal argument to try and put tighter restrictions on who can get guns and where they can bring them stem directly from this line of thought? Doesn’t Cooke get that liberals are arguing for the exact same thing for which he’s arguing, namely that laws are far too lax to determine who is and isn’t responsible enough to buy guns and carry them around openly or concealed? Is Cooke unaware that most individuals who commit mass shootings obtain their guns legally, and that these are the exact kinds of people whom we cannot trust with liberalized gun laws?

And he just said that he doesn’t think it’s likely that people at the convention would start shooting each other, but that’s his exact reasoning for not allowing guns: because he thinks Trump supporters are insane enough to shoot people.

But hey, wouldn’t this be a perfect opportunity to show how effective good guys with concealed guns are? If a few Trump loonies get too uppity and fire off a round, the rest of the freedom-loving, second amendment-worshiping conservatives will bravely wield their firearms and banish the irresponsible gun owners from the earth. That’d be great press! And besides, ‘the good guy with the gun’ theory is a conservative one, so why don’t conservatives test it out first? I mean, what’s so intimidating about walking into a convention or a Chipotle and seeing this?


Or perhaps Cooke assumes what we all assume—that realistically a situation like that would turn into a bloodbath. Oh, well. I guess we’ll never have a way of knowing!