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  • 07.18.16

Why you can bring guns, but not tennis balls, to the RNC protests

Back in May, Cleveland officials released a long list of items that aren’t allowed in the area around the Quicken Loans Arena for this week’s Republican National Convention: Paintball and pellet guns, blasting caps, nunchuks, gas masks, light bulbs, metal-tipped umbrellas, and even tennis balls are all banned for security reasons. (Police have said some of the more innocuous-sounding items have been used as weapons or to conceal explosives at previous protests, Cleveland.com reports.)

But conspicuously absent from the list were rifles, handguns, and shotguns—while guns that fire BB’s, pellets and paintballs are prohibited, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has said state open carry laws make it impossible to ban protestors and others near the convention site from carrying full-fledged firearms, CNBC reports. That’s even despite pleas from the head of the city’s police union to temporarily curtail the practice after recent attacks on law enforcement in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

A smaller secure zone immediately around the arena is under federal jurisdiction, however, and the Secret Service has long made it clear that delegates and others attending the convention itself need to leave their guns at home, state law notwithstanding.SM