Thousands sign satirical petition to allow guns at Republican Convention

Technically Incorrect: An online petition on Change.org claims that constitutional rights are being denied to those who want to bring a gun to the fight for the Republican Party's future. Except the petition is surely humorous.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Fighting for the right? Or against it?

screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The Republican Party primary season has been a combative affair.

It's even turned into combat about affairs.

So when it comes to the party's convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in July, emotions will soar and tempers will flare.

Perhaps that's why many have plunged online to support a petition to allow guns in the Quicken Loans Arena, where the convention will be held.

The petition on Change.org has already attracted the signatures of more than 33,000 people who seem to believe that making the arena a gun-free zone violates their Second Amendment rights.

Except that the petition is surely fine satirical commentary. A blog called Hyperationalist has claimed responsibility.

He or she writes: "It just doesn't seem right that thousands of patriotic Republican good guys should be left totally unprotected by whatever bad guys might wish to do them harm. I mean forgodsake people, ISIS could show up to take out everybody in and around that building and they'd be sitting ducks. Sitting ducks, I tell you! There might even be a bad egg or two among the delegates."

Hyperationalist didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, his or her tweets since 2011 suggest that he's not exactly of the Republican cause. For example: "Win-win for the Trump people at last night's rally: a protester got beat up and a black guy got arrested. This was accompanied with the #NeverTrump hashtag.

He or she also retweeted a comment praising the "wizard trolling" of the petition.

The official sponsors of the Change.org petition call themselves Americans Responsible for Open Carry. The Akron Beacon Journal insisted that this organization accepts messages only from networked supporters.

The group said that not allowing guns inside "puts all attendees at risk." And there I was thinking it was more common for rabid people in possession of guns to put people at risk.

There were other demands -- for example that Ohio Governor and presidential candidate John Kasich "use his executive authority to override the 'gun-free zone' loophole being exploited by the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio."

Ohio is an open-carry state, however Quicken Loans Arena's rules don't allow weapons of any kind. This includes pepper spray and pocket knives. It doesn't include bile and invective.

If pleading with the party and the governor doesn't work, the petitioners want a new venue. I cannot confirm they are considering the O.K. Corral as a potential replacement.

The petition also calls it "hypocritical" that a party supporting the Second Amendment would not allow guns at its convention. The Republican National Committee didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

It's unclear how many people were fooled into supporting this ruse and how many signed the petition because they enjoyed the humorous intent. It's evident, though, that some of the more rightward-inclined took it for real.

The convention doesn't promise to be a unifying spectacle. With Donald Trump perhaps not gaining enough delegates to secure the nomination outright, rancor is likely.

If guns were allowed, this might add something a touch troubling to the spectacle. Some, indeed, might argue that what society needs are guns that are smarter than their owners, but progress on that technology is slow.

Still, the petition's organizers said they were hoping for 5,000 signatures. Now that there are more than six times as many, could the convention turn into a celebration of gun culture, despite this being satire? After all, a hyper-rationalist would surely argue that it's odd for an organization so committed to the Second Amendment to ban guns at its hearth.

The spectacle of candidates brandishing guns on the stage would be enticing, no doubt, for media companies as well as for many of the Republican faithful.

Might this be one case where an online petition gets, however inadvertently, a political entity to change its mind and expand a culture?

It won't be easy. After all, despite enjoying 100,000 signatures, an online petition to deport Justin Bieber failed miserably.

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