Cornwell says it’s time to solve the problem of NFL players and guns

Inspired by the excerpts of the ESPN interview of receiver Plaxico Burress, sports lawyer and NFLPA Executive Director finalist David Cornwell has a simple message for the NFL.

“Solve the problem.”

Said Cornwell, “There have been enough incidents involving handguns and NFL players to know that we have a problem.  Plax’s situation highlights two of the major causes of the problem — gun registration and gun safety.  Forget about political correctness; solve the problem.”

The league currently has a “Guns and Weapons Policy,” but it’s a one-page document with no specific guidance on how to ensure that laws won’t be violated, and only general (and obvious) safety-related information.  Though a comprehensive program isn’t needed, something more meaningful from the league and/or the union would be beneficial to all players who currently own a gun or who might acquire one in the future.

As to registration, Cornwell suggests selecting a specific day each year where the team affirmatively helps every player with an unregistered firearm to get the thing properly licensed and/or to obtain a carry permit.

As to safety, Cornwell urges teams to make gun safety classes available, and to constantly remind players of basic realities of owning a gun:  (1) always point your gun in a safe direction; (2) always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot; and (3) always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.

Burress shot himself with a gun that has a weak trigger pull; indeed, Burress told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap that he didn’t even realize he’d shot himself until he saw that his shoe was red.

Cornwell points out that there are many types of soft holsters that act as a safety by covering the trigger.  Cornwell predicts that Burress didn’t even know such holsters are available.

“I bet if Plax had known this, he would have had one,” Cornwell said, adding that the investment of $25 or so in a soft holster “may save your career or a life.”

Bottom line?  As Cornwell explains, with minimal cost and some sensible planning, Burress would be in training camp right now, and not awaiting sentencing on September 22.

“Instead of admiring the problem and piling on,” Cornwell said, “let’s solve the problem.”

51 responses to “Cornwell says it’s time to solve the problem of NFL players and guns

  1. 100% agree. If you feel the need to have a gun, you need to training and the permits to have one. If not, you should not be able to buy one. That goes for the regular Joe on the street and celebrities….

  2. How much do these guys pay thier agents? Arent there any Full Service agents that can make sure your taxes are paid, your cars have insurance and are registered, and your Guns are registered?
    We all know these low lifes are too stupid to do it themselves.

  3. I’d fight this if I were you Florio. What would you talk about if players stopped carrying firearms? Football?

  4. Really? The NFL should provide courses? These players can’t attend the same courses that we could attend? Right, so it’s the league’s fault that Plax is a dumbass

  5. Yeah, thats the ticket. Lets make the employer (NFL) take responsibility for these guys having licensed weapons. God forbid these guys should be able to do anything for themselves. Thats part of the problem these days. People coddle “stars” from 6th or 7th grade and do everything for them. No wonder some of these guys have no clue. They don’t have to be responsible for themselves. What a farce.

  6. fist of all, it’s a right as an american citizen to own a firearm, reagardless if they are a football player or work at Sonic.
    with that said, you should be expected to follow the same laws, meaning if you have a unlicensed, unregisteted weapon, it’s a felony.
    A team having a day set aside to get players to register their illegaly owned, unregistered weapons is retarted, and i wuld question the legality of a team becoming involved in what they know as being illegal firearms. My handguns and registered concurrant with the firearm laws of Michigan. I would expect to be prosocuted if they were not. NFL players and teams should expect the same.

  7. Yes, they too have their 2nd amendment rights. This is how I see it. You have a gun and we never really know about it until you decide to pull out your piece. Then what?
    Shoot your wife, girlfriend, friend who was swindling you? Rule #1 from gunowners: You pull that thing out only if you intentd to use it. If you have it to show off, then you deserve the headaches that will follow. Ask Plax.

  8. I think this David Cornwell should’ve been the NFLPA Director. This guy sounds smarter than what I’ve heard from D. Smith.

  9. Dr. Michael says:
    blah blah blah blah Tony Dungheap blah blah blah Eagles blah blah blah Andy Reid Father of the Year blah blah blah blah Convicts blah blah Mike Vick.

  10. This and other conduct problems will NEVER be solved with rules and regulations. They are character issues. That coupled with the fact that the NFL is about only one thing: making money. As long as NFL teams make money using players that have a propensity for getting into trouble and antisocial behaviors including: beating people up, gambling, using guns, taking drugs, murder, dog fighting, DUI (with homocide) and other types of thug behaviors, the NFL will overlook it, and owners will overlook it, if it means a guy like Burress, Vick, Jones, Haynesworth, Stallworth can help you win. And the fans will overlook a ton if the team wins. But no sociopathic/psychopathic behavior should be tolerated because it continues to eat away at the social fabric and sends the message that money is THE MOST IMPORTANT value in society. Not being able to live together with reasonable certainty that we will not get our heads caved in at a nightclub, and depending on the monetary value of the person doing the caving, that officials will cover it up and make you go away.

  11. So who is going to arrange classes for the rest of us?
    If we the citizenry can seek out the appropriate gun information on our own then spoiled, coddled athletes should be able to do the same.
    And, really, he didn’t know he was shot until he saw blood? Even getting nicked by a bullet has to hurt. Was the guy completely drunk or high?
    * walks away, muttering, shaking head in disgust… *

  12. I don’t understand why anyone who is NOT a felon would not have a registered handgun? I know not all states are the same, some are more strict, some more lenient, but at least when I purchased mine, I made a trip to the police station, they did a background check while I waited, gave me a permit, and I went a purchased a hand gun. All in the same day. What is the problem?

  13. Cornwell is an idiot. It is not the responsibility of the employer to make sure their employees are following state and federal laws while not on duty.
    So what happens in places like, CO, where I live where there are not gun registrations? You only need a permit for concealed carry here (which does not include your car by the way). In fact, CO has a provision in the state constitution that outlaw any type of gun registration (CC Permits are not allowed to be kept in a database).

  14. I echo a lot of the comments here, but add that a gun is not a toy or a status symbol. It’s a tool. And like any tool can be abused. Responsible gun owners understand the difference between use and abuse. Plax evidently did not. He had no reason to be threatened enough to bring a weapon into a club, whether or not it was licensed or otherwise blessed by the authorities. He did so to show off, to show his street manliness. In doing so, he showed off his immaturity and stupidity.
    I was raised with guns all of my life, am a respectable marksman, and continue to own guns and target shoot. I’ve never had a gun “accident”, because I’m always careful how I handle them. I was taught from an early age how dangerous a gun could be in irresponsible hands. I learned 3 rules, that should be passed on to every gun owner:
    1) A gun is always loaded unless you just checked to make sure it isn’t. 2) Never point a gun at something you don’t intend to shoot. 3) Never shoot anything you don’t intend to kill. Perhaps the NFL could pass some of that along to their employees.

  15. “A team having a day set aside to get players to register their illegaly owned, unregistered weapons is retarted, and i wuld question the legality of a team becoming involved in what they know as being illegal firearms. My handguns and registered concurrant with the firearm laws of Michigan. I would expect to be prosocuted if they were not. NFL players and teams should expect the same.”
    Actually, what is “retarded” is:
    spelling “retarded” “retarted”,
    spelling “would” “wuld”,
    spelling “prosecuted” “prosocuted”
    and not necessarily “retarded” but something that can get you on the special needs program…
    spelling “illegally” “illegaly” and
    spelling “concurrent ” “concurrant”.
    Get a spell checker before you start working in the real world, and your bosses realize that you are “retarded”.

  16. They should all get the Florida Concealed carry permit AND the CCW permit for their home state. The Florida is good in 24 states. They should also get the CCW permit in their state.
    1) CCW Permit holders commit fewer crimes. At a rate of 1/7th of the general population.
    2) It requires a gun education class. That means every NFL player will have some real knowledge instead of being limited to movies and rap music as a resource for firearm education.
    3) It requires a gun safety and accuracy course. No more scenes from 8 mile for WRs.
    4) NFL players are high value targets for criminals. Kidnapping, robbery or other crimes committed against NFL players because they are NFL players is not unheard of and they need to keep themselves safe responsibly.

  17. “”I bet if Plax had known this, he would have had one,” Cornwell said, adding that the investment of $25 or so in a soft holster “may save your career or a life.””
    Or, I don’t know, using the damn safety? There’s so many levels of stupid on this one it’s insane.

  18. I don’t think the guns know weather they are registered or not. Neither should the NFL “affirmatively” ensure legal ownership of firearms for the players. My company doesn’t offer that. They expect me to be an ADULT, and handle my own affairs. If they are required to carry firearms for their jobs (playing against the Raiders, for instance), then the company (read: the league) monitor the situation. Since it is not, there is no need for them to get involved except in the circumstances of breach of league policy on conduct.

  19. First of all there is no law in most places requring registration of a firearm. (registration is always the first step to confiscation).
    second, you only need a permit to exercise your constitutional rights when you want to carry a firearm concealed. you do not need a permit to have a firearm in your home.
    third, NFL players are for the most part american citizens and have a right under the 2nd amendment to keep and bear arms just like the rest of us.
    fourth anyone that owns a gun has a responsiblity to know how to properly use and secure said firearm. They have classess for that.
    fifth. I’ve owned firearms my entire life. I am a hunter and outdoorsman. I keep firearms for personal protection and i’ll leave it to the criminals that would harm my family or myself to decide if i carry a concealed firearm (i have all the permits). I made my living with firearms in the military for 9 years. I have never EVER had an accidental discharge. You have the idiot factor with people like plax.
    I dont’ see it as an NFL responsiblity to teach knuckleheads that are millionaires firearms safety. Take a day in the offseason and go to your local range pay the 100 bucks and take a class.

  20. …What is the problem?
    It appears that Cornwell is assuming that most NFL players are imbeciles (albeit wealthy imbeciles) that believe they can pick and choose the laws they follow. I think Cornwell’s assumption is correct.

  21. Seems like all of these guys have the “thug” mentality, and that includes Cornwell. The point isn’t that Burress didn’t have a soft holster to keep his gun from going off accidentally, the point is that Burress should never have had the gun on his person to begin with.
    Tired of the excuses and the apologists trying to make Burress a victim. He is a victim only of his own sutpidity, and deserves to go to jail because he broke the freaking law having the gun on his person.

  22. Great, now it’s the employers’ responsibility to teach common sense and gun safety ?? What is this world coming to. The bottom line is that Plax, through his own stupidity and ignorance, is going to jail. It’s not the fault of the NFL, the G-men or or any other NFL franchise that this happened. Take responsibility for yourself and let the NFL players do the same, Mr. Cornwell….

  23. I’m still waiting for my employer to babysit me and make sure that I have all my gun registration, licensing and permit licenses up to date and teach me proper gun safety. I’m sure they will be announcing a program like this really soon……

  24. # DC_Bengals_Fan says: August 25, 2009 11:23 AM
    “”I bet if Plax had known this, he would have had one,” Cornwell said, adding that the investment of $25 or so in a soft holster “may save your career or a life.””
    Or, I don’t know, using the damn safety? There’s so many levels of stupid on this one it’s insane.
    ——————
    Glocks don’t have a manual safety. They have a “safe action trigger”, with a very long pull and a flange to help safeguard the trigger. The intent is for the gun to always be ready to fire, _when you pull the trigger_. By not carrying the gun in a holster, Plax put himself in a dangerous situation. Any gun owner who has been through a safety course knows you always carry a gun in a holster.

  25. nice thought Corny, only one problem…not every state in which an NFL team is located will allow concealed carry of firearms, even with a permit! Gotta love those democrats (lets make sure the only people who have weapons are the ones who are willing to break the law).

  26. Whether it’s the NFL’s responsibility to provide gun education classes or not is irrelevant. From the NFL’s perspective, the purpose of the classes is NOT to protect individual players. It is to protect the league’s profit margins and investments in the players. If a player accidentally shooting himself did not create bad publicity and animosity towards the league then the NFL wouldn’t care. It does though, and turning people off means less potential customers. If the classes prevent incidents like this from happening in the future then Cornwell is right, the league should provide them.

  27. 1) The second amendment only applies to the federal government, not the States. The States may restrict your right to bear arms. This is an important distinction as different teams will be subject to different laws. If a player gets traded, he’ll need a crash course on what he has to do regarding his firearms.
    2) To several posters above: Everyone knows your employer doesn’t provide gun classes for you. But you’re also not an NFL player. Chances are you are very replaceable and not at all visible for your company. NFL players are different from you.
    3) It’s not the NFL’s responsibility to teach players how to use their guns and how to be safe and responsible. However, it is still in the NFL’s interest to do so. It makes the NFL look better to its customer base.

  28. Whether it’s the NFL’s responsibility to provide gun education classes or not is irrelevant. From the NFL’s perspective, the purpose of the classes is NOT to protect individual players. It is to protect the league’s profit margins and investments in the players. If a player accidentally shooting himself did not create bad publicity and animosity towards the league then the NFL wouldn’t care. It does though, and turning people off means less potential customers. If the classes prevent incidents like this from happening in the future then Cornwell is right, the league should provide them.

  29. Cornwell is grandstanding. I would categorize this along the lines of a “Hey look at me everyone! I’m relevant!”.
    There’s a much bigger issue at play here Dave than your little politically correct suggestions. If you want to stop accidents with guns happening how about some suggestions on fixing your broken justice system first. Or more specifically some advice for players on how they can trick out their cars and homes with the latest surveillance gear so that when someone does try to jack with their shit (as an example, power tripping spastic cops) you’ll have video and audio evidence to defend your ass in that aforementioned broken system.

  30. Roger the Dodger says: August 25, 2009 11:17 AM
    1) A gun is always loaded unless you just checked to make sure it isn’t. 2) Never point a gun at something you don’t intend to shoot. 3) Never shoot anything you don’t intend to kill. Perhaps the NFL could pass some of that along to their employees.
    —————
    Couldn’t of said it better myself.

  31. UrMomToldMe2TellUHi says: “nice thought Corny, only one problem…not every state in which an NFL team is located will allow concealed carry of firearms, even with a permit! Gotta love those democrats (lets make sure the only people who have weapons are the ones who are willing to break the law).”
    Are you referring to NYC? The city that has the lowest crime rate of any major US city? A city that Plax was NOT a resident of? Plax lived in NJ – where permits are available. BTW – permits are available for concealed carry in NYC. In fact, a shooting range in Manhattan has people on staff available to help you with paperwork – for a fee, of course. If you’re not talking about NYC, then which city and/or state are you referring to? I’m aware of several that make it difficult, but not any that make it outright impossible.

  32. Oh Please. Maybe the league can also have a day to make sure their bills are paid, they are carrying the proper insurance, are using birth control and everyone has a driver’s license.
    Dear God, what has happened to personal responsibility in this country? Is everthing someone else’s fault?

  33. Yes……Let’s have classes to teach them to be men as well, instead of ghetto thugs who think they are above the law, why not some safe driving classes, plugged in electrical devices near the bathtub classes, don’t chew with your mouth open classes, use a damn rubber classes, keep your pit bull away from kids classes, don’t electrocute dogs classes, don’t drive the 4800 pound Bentley drunk classes, how to wear a wire when you get busted classes, don’t make it rain classes…..The list is endless…….

  34. Hard Core Left Wing Commies sure hate the 2nd Amendment.
    They are always attacking trying to get rid of the 2nd Amendment the way they got rid of the 10th Amendment.
    Florio seems to want a totalitarian government and no American freedoms and responsibilities.

  35. Jesus, you guys don’t understand this issue at all.
    It isn’t that its an employees responsibility to educate or teach gun laws, or whatever.
    It’s a simple matter of money. The NFL is business, the NFL makes most of their money for advertisers.
    Having NFL players hurt the image of the NFL is bad for business.
    Bad for business equals lost money.
    Lost money equals incentive to teach employees how to be better with guns.
    NFL players hurting image of NFL less equals more money for NFL.
    Do you 2nd amendment retards understand this? You guys are a pathetic lot. You can’t even participate in a conversation involving guns without reverting to irrelevant talking points supplied to you by a public interest group. This is not a gun control issue you morons. This is a what’s good for the NFL business issue.

  36. I’ve owned/used guns all of my life,
    Hell, they’re always kept loaded.
    But I would never buy one that doesn’t have a safety.

  37. I’m sure Florio would support taking guns out of the hands of NFL players.
    Given his track record of slanderous, flame-bait articles he’s written about most of them, he’d feel considerably safer walking the streets.

  38. ~~”Solve the problem.”
    Said Cornwell, “There have been enough incidents involving handguns and NFL players to know that we have a problem. ~~
    Goodell is the one who has the problem with guns.

  39. How about “giving me enough brains not to turn down 3 months and 1500 hours of community service classes”?..Nah, i’m keepin it real..Now i got 2 years, cause I’m dumb as a bag of hammers…..I’ll just piss away 35 million….My career………Problem solved…….

  40. One problem is hip-hop culture and it’s obsession with guns, violence, and bling. a lot of the NFL’s players live this lifestyle before becoming a part of the league. May if the NFL worked on a community level to rid ghetto culture of guns and violence, their future players will soon follow suit.

  41. Wow. Cornhole must think the players are nothing but a complete group mindless children. So let’s just say that Plax worked for Target instead of the NFL. On his free time he decides to go buy a gun. Would it really be Target’s responsibility to set up a time for Plax to register his gun? Would it really be Target’s responsibility to have a gun safety class for Plax?
    It sounds like Cornhole is putting the blame on the NFL for Plax’s situation. Clearly it’s the NFL’s fault that Plax was an idiot for bringing a gun to a nightclub.

  42. Excuse me?
    It’s those left wing commie loving liberals that are responsible for Plax shooting himself?
    Good Lord I’m a Republican and a gun owner but you far right redneck cracker hicks are over the top. You’re just about as dumb as dumb gets.

  43. Why should the NFL or the teams pay for a player’s responsibility? Maybe the NFLPA should be taking on this responsibilty. Whatever happened to personal responibility? Nanny laws are killing this country already. Man up and take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming others. Mike Vick included.

  44. First thing as i have not seen this addressed. NfL players are not an employee of the NFL. They are an employee of their team. They have absolutely no contract with the NFL.
    The nFL also has a rookie symposium where vets money managers and the like give speeches. It is up to the players to take it to heart.
    To be quite honest it is up to the agents to baby sit their clients, they are the ones who have the most invested.
    It is a right to own and carry a weapon, and that right should and can be stripped.
    i seriously do hot know how this poor attempt at an article gets so much attention. Florio just regurgitating someone else opinions and facts.

  45. StickyDitka says: August 25, 2009 12:11 PM
    1) The second amendment only applies to the federal government, not the States. The States may restrict your right to bear arms.
    ==================
    Wrong. Dead Wrong.
    The U.S. Constitution enumerates the MINIMUM level of Rights enjoyed by We The People. State Constitutions can recognize ADDITIONAL Rights, but they cannot reduce Rights already enumerated in the Federal Constitution. In fact, the Constitution of any State admitted to the Union after the original 13 colonies declared their independence from England HAD to guarantee their residents, at a minimum, the same Rights set forth in the Bill of Rights.

  46. Ah – day one of training camp
    8:00- 10:00 Gun registration and handling. Bring your handgun for holster fitting.
    10:00- 12:00 Avoiding sexual assualt charges – one of your entourage also needs to attend
    12:00- 1:00 Lunch
    1:00- 3:00 Navigating DSHS – Yes child support is cheaper by the dozen
    3:00 – 5:00 Doping, Steriods, and illegal drugs – how to know when they are out of your system for testing.

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