Secret Service Says No Guns at Convention; Scholars Cite Strong Precedent
The U.S. Secret Service announced Tuesday that members of the public would not be allowed to carry firearms inside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer.
Secret Service spokesman Kevin Dye explained, “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.”
While some Republicans both within and outside the political campaigns expressed anger at the perceived trampling upon Second Amendment gun rights, there was widespread agreement regarding the wisdom of the decision.
“I’d say we dodged a bullet on that one,” former GOP Chairman Michael Steele said, chuckling. “Pun intended.”
Others were less ambivalent.
During a segment on MSNBC, Republican strategist and former McCain 2008 campaign manager Steve Schmidt stated, “Let’s put a bunch of pissed-off Trump supporters in a room with Ted Cruz Texans and give them guns. Oh gee, what could possibly go wrong? The Republican Party doesn’t already look like a goddamn clown orgy, let’s see if we can go even further backward by holding a convention where the winner is the guy with the fewest exit wounds.”
As the broadcast cut to commercial, Schmidt could be heard saying, “Seriously, did that halfwit Palin come up with this bulls…”
Ohio allows “open carry” of guns, meaning registered owners can legally possess them in public. This prompted a debate over whether guns should be allowed inside the GOP convention, which is expected to be the especially contentious climax to an already fiery intraparty race.
Yet legal scholars and prominent jurists explained that the case law upon which the Secret Service decision is based is well founded.
The original conflict is outlined in an 1823 Kentucky case that eventually made it into U.S. law under the name, “Provision Against Allowing Angry Dumbasses With Guns Into Public Facilities Where Other Armed Dumbasses Holding Opposing Viewpoints Have Assembled”. Commonly known as the “Armed Dumbass Act”, later cases affirming the law included “Drunken Cowboy v. Angry Mob” and “Hatfield v. McCoy”.
Retired Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz said these cases are frequently mentioned in a wider field often referred to as “Basic Friggin Common Sense” law. Other precedents in this legal category include the 1912 case of “This Might Cause a Problem v. No Shit, Sherlock”, and an affirming Supreme Court decision in 1956 simply titled, “Duh”.
Outside of legal scholarship, the academic community expressed widespread regret over the loss of potential research material. Some biologists contended that allowing weapons into the GOP convention would have yielded vibrant evidence regarding natural selection. Scholars in other fields representing the social sciences, including psychology and anthropology, agreed that depriving attendees of guns was a missed opportunity.
“The potential for study of raw human emotions and reactions such as anger, violence and mob mentality was enormous,” Yale sociologist Dr. A. E. Filkins said. “It would have been like fucking Thunder Dome in there.”
Representatives of medical schools within proximity of the event, including The Ohio State University College of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic, also expressed disappointment.
“We were anticipating an influx of numerous cadavers from right up the street,” Dr. Frederick Houseman of the Cleveland Clinic said. “Our students would have benefited greatly from what could have been a large number of practice dummies.”
(March 30, 2016)