Cleveland officials said they will abide by state law and the U.S. Constitution to allow people to open-carry firearms outside the Quicken Loans Arena during the Republican National Convention, but they won't allow toy guns.
“Our intent is to follow the law. 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,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson in a press conference, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“It’s the law in this state. As police chief, I’m bound to uphold the law in this state,” he added.
Armed protesters will be allowed outside what is expected to be a protest-heavy convention as the GOP prepares to accept Donald Trump as its nominee. And with the convention scheduled for just days after five Dallas police officers were shot to death by a black ex-sniper who allegedly claimed to want to kill white cops, it comes at a time when racial tensions in the U.S. are at a high.
Although guns will be allowed in the Republican National Convention “event zone,” other, less lethal objects will be banned, reported CNN. Among those objects are water guns, light bulbs, and tennis balls.
"Bottom line, we're going to follow the law. It's state law. There's no state law on tennis balls,” said Dan Williams, a spokesman for Jackson, according to CNN.
In addition to water guns, paintball guns, BB guns, and pellet guns are banned, according to the list of banned items.
Although real guns will be allowed in the event zone outside the arena, they won't be allowed inside the actual arena, which is privately owned.
In March, a petition was created on Change.org to allow firearms into Quicken Loans Arena for the Republican National Convention.
Quicken Loans arena denied the petition's request, according to the Cleveland Scene.