The head of the Cleveland police patrolmen's union is asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to suspend the state's open carry laws in Cuyahoga County for the Republican National Convention in the wake of the deaths of three police officers in Louisiana, according to
The station reported Sunday that union president Steve Loomis said he is working with an attorney to draft a request to be sent to Kasich for consideration. Reuters reported
Loomis asked the governor to declare a state of emergency, which would allow Kasich to immediately suspend the law.
Ohio's open carry laws allow anyone without a felony record to carry guns in the state, including in downtown Cleveland, but not inside the U.S. Secret Service security zone around Quicken Loans Arena, where the RNC will be held Monday through Thursday.
"I don't care what the legal precedent is, I feel strongly that leadership needs to stand up and defend these police officers," Loomis, the head of the police union, told Reuters, on Sunday.
Loomis did not respond to several requests for comment. Kasich's spokeswoman, Emmalee Kalmbach, said the governor does not have the authority to suspend state and federal laws regarding open carry.
"Law enforcement is a noble, essential calling and we all grieve that we've again seen attacks on officers," Kalbach said in a statement. "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."
Brian Betley, who leads the Cleveland police union representing sergeants, lieutenants and captains, told cleveland.com he agrees with Loomis' request. Betley said he would contact the state's police officer's union to see what help they can offer.
"They would declare a state of emergency if something happened, but it's all too late at that point," Betley said. "Why not do it before something happens?"
Cleveland police union to ask governor to suspend open carry law for RNC | cleveland.com