Thousands Petition To Allow Guns At Republican Convention For 'Safety' [UPDATE]

Without guns, attendees will be "sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers."

03/26/2016 06:50 pm ET | Updated Mar 28, 2016

UPDATE: The Secret Service, at least, has not been persuaded by the logic of a petition asking that guns be allowed into the Republican National Convention in July.

The agency told ABC's Cleveland affiliate in a statement:

Title 18 United States Code Sections 3056 and 1752 provides the Secret Service authority to preclude firearms from entering sites visited by our protectees, including those located in open-carry states. Only authorized law enforcement personnel working in conjunction with the Secret Service for a particular event may carry a firearm inside of the protected site. The Secret Service works closely with our local law enforcement partners in each state to ensure a safe environment for our protectees and the public. 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.

Previously reported:

Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland to allow guns at the Republican National Convention -- all in the name of safety.

The Change.org petition, which had more than 26,000 supporters as of Saturday evening, claims that the arena's weapon ban makes those who attend the RNC in July "sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers and criminals."

It's addressed to Republican candidates like Donald Trump, who's quoted as promising to eliminate gun-free zones in schools should he be elected.

"Cleveland, Ohio is consistently ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in America," the petition states. "By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site."

The argument that gun-free zones are dangerous is thrown around loosely in political circles. It's often legitimized by misguided anecdotes.

Trump and other candidates often finger the October mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon as a prime example of gun-free zones leaving locals at risk. While the college does prohibit guns on campus, school officials said at the time that the policy doesn't apply to concealed carries allowed by state law. There were students on campus with guns, anyway -- The Huffington Post spoke to an Air Force veteran who had a legal gun on his hip during the shooting that left 10 dead.

Ohio is an open carry state, but there's no indication that the petition will have any effect on the arena's rules, and gun advocates regularly use Change.org to propose sweeping policy change in the wake of tragedy. The gun ban has precedent, too -- firearms were banned by the Secret Service at the RNC in Tampa in 2012, AFP reports.

If recent Republican rallies are any indication, it's Trump who is putting convention-goers at risk. He regularly encourages violence at his events, and rallies that feature The Donald at the podium tend to conclude with fist fights, arrests and racism.

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