Secret Service: No guns in GOP convention

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The Secret Service says people attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July will not be allowed to carry guns.

The statement comes in response to a petition that calls for allowing open carry of guns inside Quicken Loans Arena, the host venue.

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The petition has amassed more than 43,000 signatures as of Monday morning. 

Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said in a statement that “only authorized law enforcement personnel” working with the agency will be allowed to carry firearms inside protected areas. 

“Individuals determined to be carrying firearms will not be allowed past a predetermined outer perimeter checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a ticket to the event,” Hoback wrote in an email.

The Secret Service cited federal law that allows the agency to prevent firearms from being carried into venues with protectees present, even in open-carry states. 

The Secret Service previously sent a statement to Cleveland’s Newsnet5.com.

The petition, which was posted last week on Change.org, has drawn widespread attention, in large part because it seemed designed to test the limits of the Republican Party’s support for the Second Amendment.

The anonymous author noted that, while Ohio is an open-carry state, Quicken Loans Arena policy forbids weapons of any kind to be carried into the facility. 

“This is a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk,” the petition reads.

The origins of the petition are murky, and some websites have questioned whether it is satire or a hoax. 

An anonymous blogger, Hyperationalist, posted the petition on Change.org. 

“Yesterday morning, the dedicated staff of the Hyperationalist launched the Change.org petition posted below,” the blog wrote last Thursday. “We have since collected 1,500 signatures and the pace seems to be picking up. Clearly we have struck a nerve.”

Chris Matyszczyk of Cnet referred to the petition as “satirical” in a Monday morning piece. 

A Twitter account linked to the blog retweeted several messages calling the petition “Wizard-level” and “God-tier” trolling.

“Win-win for the Trump people at last night's rally: a protester got beat up and a black guy got arrested. #TrumpRally #NeverTrump” the user tweeted on March 20. 

 Regardless of its origins, the petition has won attention.

Republican frontrunner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump slams 'totally biased' judge in Trump U case Ex-pharma CEO Martin Shkreli: I didn’t endorse Trump Five things Clinton needs to do to win the California primary MORE, who is under Secret Service protection, said this Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” he wanted to take a closer look at the proposal.

Trump called himself “a very, very strong person for Second Amendment,” but added, “I have not seen the petition. I want to see what it says. I want to read the fine print."

Presidential candidate Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzStephen Hawking: Trump a 'demagogue' Dems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals Meet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker MORE (R-Texas) said Monday he had not reviewed the petition and deferred to the Secret Service to decide whether open carry should be allowed.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who was named in the petition, also said Secret Service should be responisble for setting gun policy at the convention.

The Republican National Committee deferred questions about venue security to the Secret Service, which is coordinating with federal, state and local law enforcement to secure the convention site.

“The Republican Party has been and will continue to be a staunch supporter of the Second amendment,” said convention spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski. “It is in our platform and is strongly supported by our candidates.

“The Republican National Convention is a National Special Security Event which means the Secret Service is the lead agency and we will defer to their planning as it relates to safety and security of the convention.”

Tim Devaney contributed to this story. 

Updated at 3:31 p.m.