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Group will openly carry firearms at Riverfest festival

CINCINNATI (Brad Underwood) -- On the list of prohibited items for Riverfest, weapons are one of them.

In the crowd over the Labor Day weekend in 2014, there will be a group of people openly carrying firearms.  Local 12 was told the goal will be to educate the public about the law and get organizers to change the way the rules were written.

As the set-up for Riverfest went on some of the rules were posted near the serpentine wall.  Near the top of the list: weapons.

Firearms instructor Jeffry Smith said, "Clear Channel is putting out information to prohibit weapons, they cannot legally do so."

And he was right.  Ohio law allows a person to carry a firearm in public places like Riverfest.  Jeffry Smith said he has taught gun use and education for eight years.  Smith said event organizers were deceiving the public about what they were legally allowed to bring.

"It should be up to that person, without being deceived, up to that person to decide if they want to carry a firearm, pepper spray, a knife, whatever without deception," Smith said.

After what happened to Jonathan Deters in 2014 near the Taste of Cincinnati, Smith said he did some research.  Taste of Cincinnati and Riverfest both list weapons as prohibited items.

Smith said he didn't plan on going to Riverfest this year, but after reading those rules for the event, he changed his plans.

"This has ruined what would have been a long weekend vacation with my life.  I have decided to do this instead of take a trip because it needs to be done," said Smith.

A Facebook group was made for Smith's event to openly carry at Riverfest.  Smith said he organized similar events in the past, like an open carry education walk at UC.

Local 12 spoke with the city of Cincinnati solicitor.  In the end, he said there was nothing they could do about Smith and his friends legally carrying guns at the event.  Local 12 also attempted to get a comment from Clear Channel about prohibiting weapons illegally at the event.  Emails and phone calls were not returned.

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