Advertisement

Some armed with guns, Trump supporters gather for 1st big rally

Click to play video 'Gun owners take advantage of open carry law as Republican National convention gets underway' Gun owners take advantage of open carry law as Republican National convention gets underway
WATCH ABOVE: Gun owners take advantage of open carry law as Republican National convention gets underway. Jackson Proskow reports. – Jul 18, 2016

CLEVELAND – Several hundred Donald Trump supporters – a few of them openly carrying guns as allowed under Ohio law – gathered Monday for the first major pro-Trump rally of the four-day Republican National Convention.

The ambush killings of police officers earlier this month in Dallas and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, over the weekend have raised tensions in Cleveland, with the president of the police union asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to suspend the law allowing gun owners to carry firearms in plain sight. But Kasich said he doesn’t have that authority.

WATCH ABOVE: The Republican National Convention opens Monday, and 50,000 people are expected to flood Cleveland for the big event. The line-up for opening day includes a wide-range of speakers. Weijia Jiang reports.

Click to play video 'Republican National Convention focused on national security as protesters gather in Cleveland' Republican National Convention focused on national security as protesters gather in Cleveland
Republican National Convention focused on national security as protesters gather in Cleveland – Jul 18, 2016

While there was a large police presence downtown and near the convention site around midday Monday, just a few dozen officers on bikes stood watch before the start of the rally being staged along the Cuyahoga River.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Republican convention kicks off with Donald Trump’s wife, celebrities set to speak

Trump backers who brought guns said they simply wanted to exercise their rights.

“You don’t see Trump supporters doing anything that is extreme,” said Josh Clark, of Erie, Pennsylvania. “It’s more of a peaceful get-together.”

There didn’t appear to be any anti-Trump demonstrators at the rally site.

Joel Ameigh, of Hershey, Pennsylvania, who had a Smith and Wesson handgun strapped to his belt, said he is not necessarily a Trump backer but wanted to hear from the speakers at the “America First” rally sponsored by Citizens for Trump.

READ MORE: Stephen Colbert hijacks GOP convention stage for ‘The Hunger Games’ spoof

“We’re not here to be dangerous people. We’re not here to intimidate anyone. There are laws against that sort of thing,” he said.