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Guns Not Banned Outside Presidential Debate In Cleveland

A variety of items will be prohibited in the event zone outside next week’s Presidential Debate at the Cleveland Clinic, including nun chucks, axes, swords, sabers and paintball guns. But real guns are not on that list.

That's because in Ohio, state law overrules municipal gun bans, and Ohio's laws allow for open carry or concealed carry of a weapon with a permit. 

In fact, Ohio legislators have strengthened the state's governance over gun laws in recent years.  

“The state legislature several years ago passed what is called the preemption doctrine and that essentially puts the state legislature in the driver’s seat in determining what proper gun control laws, if any, would exist," Michael B. Washington, a defense attorney in Cuyahoga Falls and the founder of a firearms training company, told ideastream. 

According to Washington, the Secret Service does have the authority to designate a gun-free zone in its protective area, and the Cleveland Clinic, as a private entity, also has the right to ban guns on its premises. 

In fact, according to a spokesman for the hospital system, the "Cleveland Clinic already has a policy in place not permitting weapons on our property and inside our buildings."  

But Washington said the city would be "hard pressed if they try to enforce a ban per se, other than what would be in conjunction with the Secret Service requirement" to restrict firearms.  

The City of Cleveland has, in the past, attempted to pass local gun control measures, but those attempts have been overruled by Ohio courts

And during the Republican National Convention held in Cleveland in 2016, water guns were banned but real guns were permitted

The designated even zone for the first presidential debate surrounds the Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, stretching from East 79th Street to Stokes Boulevard and Hough to Cedar Avenue. 

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