Shona Murray: Republicans stick to their guns ahead of Republican National Convention

“Everybody in Cleveland should be carrying a gun - including you”

Shona Murray: Republicans stick to their guns ahead of Republican National Convention

Image: Shona Murray

The Republican National Convention is taking place this week in Cleveland, Ohio.

After a long and often heated primary campaign, Donald Trump is to be named as the Republican Party nominee for the next US president during the convention.

Meanwhile there are fresh concerns over the use of guns in the country after a number of incidents over the last few weeks.

On Sunday, three officers were shot and killed in an attack in Baton Rouge, Louisiana just days after a shooter claimed the lives of five police officers in Dallas. The deaths of Anton Sterling and Philando Castile have heightened tensions further as the nation prepares to head to the polls in November. 

Despite the growing calls for legislation that would introduce more stringent background checks, Republicans have been at the forefront of efforts to protect US citizens' right to bear arms.

On their website, the party says: "Washington liberals, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, are intent on limiting your Second Amendment rights and core constitutional liberties. Republicans have crushed every single attempt from the Democrats to limit the Second Amendment."

Newstalk reporter Shona Murray is in Ohio, where there have been some calls to suspend the state's ‘open-carry’ gun laws as a result of the violence that has erupted in the last few weeks.

Speaking about the recent tension, Mayor of Cleveland, Frank G Jackson told Shona that "there’s always tension regarding guns. I don’t know in Ireland what your laws are, but in America it’s pretty liberal in terms of Second Amendment rights and right to bear arms.

Mayor Jackson. Image: Shona Murray

“As you know, safety and security is a city, state and federal concern, so those who are involved in that aspect... they’ll know what to do, when to do it and how to do it,” he observed.

Randy Markson is the head of a National Rifle Association (NRA) group in Michigan, and told Shona why he believes everyone should carry a gun in the city:

“Everybody in Cleveland should be carrying a gun - including you,” he argued. “You should be fully trained and capable of defending yourself. Because if you were, we wouldn’t have to rely on the police - we could do it ourselves.

“As a result, the bad guys would not be shooting people in this country if they knew other people were shooting back. Period. End of discussion.

“Because you’re here, and you’re not even a citizen, you have those rights. You’re on our soil - you want me to pull it out and show you how to shoot it? We could - that’s America.”

He also suggested that “you need to be able to protect yourself from any bad guy, because you know what? You can’t carry a cop - you can carry a gun.”

A protester in Cleveland ahead of the Republican Convention. Image: Shona Murray

Al Baldasaro, a delegate for Donald Trump and his spokesperson on veteran affairs, also spoke to Shona, and stated that citizens carrying guns helps to ensure the government doesn’t "take over" the country:

“If you look at the climate you guys in Ireland hide, you have a lot of knife murders,” he said. “There’s some hatchet stuff going on over there, you got people being killed in Ireland with their hands. What’s the difference? Did you ban knives in Ireland?

“Only those Democrat liberal areas have restrictions on law-abiding citizens. The criminals have guns."

“If we have a government that wants to go communism or socialism, it’d be a cold day in hell,” he stated. “There’s a lot of us; I’m a retired marine, I’d never in a million years let it happen.

“I served my country to protect others, put my life on the line. If they try to go communism or socialism, I’d be a fighting son-of-a-gun.”