It has been a difficult month for law enforcement-community relations.
Sunday morning three law enforcement officers were killed and three wounded in Baton Rogue, LA at the hands of Gavin Eugene Long and two other possible suspects. Long was killed by police, and two men were picked up in Mississippi as persons of interest.
Two weeks ago Baton Rogue Police shot and killed 37-year-old Anton Sterling which sparked nationwide protests over police-involved shootings of blacks. That was followed by another police-involved shooting of Philandro Castile in Minnesota. The next day five Dallas police officers were killed and seven wounded after a protest of those shootings.
Cleveland Police were involved in a controversial shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014. With the current tension and the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week the head of the police union asked Ohio Governor John Kasich to suspend open carry in Cuyahoga County.
The head of Cleveland’s largest police union is calling on Ohio Gov. John Kasich to temporarily restrict the state’s open carry gun laws during this week’s Republican National Convention following Sunday’s shooting in Louisiana that killed three officers and wounded at least three others.
“We are sending a letter to Gov. Kasich requesting assistance from him. He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point,” Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, told CNN. “They can fight about it after the RNC or they can lift it after the RNC, but I want him to absolutely outlaw open-carry in Cuyahoga County until this RNC is over.”
State law in Ohio allows for licensed firearm owners to wear their weapons in public. With the exception of a small “secure zone” inside and around the Quicken Loans Arena, residents, delegates and protesters are legally permitted to walk around the city — including within its 1.7 square mile regulated “event zone” — with any firearm not explicitly banned by the state.
Kasich, responding to the request, said: “Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested.”
“I don’t care if it is constitutional or not?” That is an unfortunate statement from someone who is speaking on behalf of law enforcement officers. Suspending rights is what totalitarian regimes do in response to unrest.
Kudos to Governor Kasich for dismissing the request.