POLITICS

Cleveland Police Union Urges Ohio Governor To Suspend Open Carry Laws During GOP Convention

The head of the police union is concerned about safety after the shooting of six police officers in Louisiana.

CLEVELAND, July 17 (Reuters) - The head of the Cleveland police union on Sunday urged Ohio’s governor to declare a state of emergency and to suspend laws allowing the open carrying of firearms during the Republican National Convention, after the shooting of six police officers in Louisiana.

“I don’t care what the legal precedent is, I feel strongly that leadership needs to stand up and defend these police officers,” Steve Loomis, the head of the police union, told Reuters in an interview at the union’s headquarters on Sunday. The four-day convention is due to begin on Monday.

Cleveland police patrol in downtown ahead of the Republican National Convention on July 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Cleveland police patrol in downtown ahead of the Republican National Convention on July 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

However, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) quickly rejected the request, saying that he does not have the authority to suspend the open carry law.

“Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”

(Reporting by Kim Palmer, writing by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Howard Goller)