NFL stadium gun ban challenged in Minnesota court

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Not surprisingly, the NFL prohibits fans from bringing guns to stadiums.  For off-duty police officers, however, that presents a problem.

It’s enough of a problem to prompt a pair of Minnesota law-enforcement groups to file suit challenging the policy.

According to KSTP, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis claim that the policy violates Minnesota law authorizing qualified citizens to carry handguns in public.  For off-duty police officers, who may be expected to intervene in any criminal action that occurs inside the stadium, it arguably becomes even more important to have their guns.

The NFL had not responded to multiple requests for comment from KSTP.  The Vikings have said the team will defer to the NFL.

While it makes sense to ban guns at NFL stadiums, it likewise makes sense to allow off-duty officers to bring theirs in.  People congregate in large numbers in plenty of places where it’s impossible to keep folks from having their guns.  Those who are legitimately licensed to carry guns in public — particularly those who work in law enforcement — can make a strong case for being allowed to carry those guns from the public areas outside a football stadium to the public areas inside a football stadium.

61 responses to “NFL stadium gun ban challenged in Minnesota court

  1. Law enforcement should be allowed to carry guns and so should certain personnel that need guns in their profession. Maybe such people should carry ID that demonstrates that they have the right to carry.

  2. If it’s considered a private area (no sense opening that can of worms regarding public vs private if paid for with public funds) I don’t see why off-duty officers should be able to carry. Unless I’m mistaken the law doesn’t allow them to carry on private property where the owner doesn’t allow it.

  3. Ever seen a drunk off duty cop? I have and a firearm is not what he needs. Most cops off duty would not be a problem but then there can always be that one…….

  4. Here comes all the right wing gun nuts saying the stadium would be safer if everyone had a gun even the kids.

    If there ever were a place where it’s smart to prohibit guns its inside a stadium full of dumb drunks with children sprinkled throughout. Hope common sense rules here. Otherwise, I for one will NEVER step foot inside another stadium.

  5. It’s private property, much like a home where you can tell anyone entering that you don’t want a gun inside.

    Point being for off duty cops, DON’T GET INVOLVED.

    This has been an issue at Yankee Stadium (and many other venues, I’m sure) for years.

    Let the square badge renta-cops do their job…

    (some of you understand…)

  6. can you explain to me why the off duty officer would need to bring a firearm into a stadium of people? What, are they going to need to shoot someone? bringng a gun into a stadium with a mob mentality is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. when was the last time someone need a gun to shoot in the stadium because they were allowed to bring a gun in the stadium? If this law passes I’m sure it will happen

  7. Agree that off duty officers, who are not drinking and legitimately can be armed, should be allowed to attend, while armed. I view them differently than those who are not Law Enforcement Officers but who have a legal permit to carry a concealed weapon. Have a badge, okay. None, no………

  8. Some cities regard their police as always on duty, in that they don’t have to punch in on the clock to make arrests. So it makes sense that they can carry their guns while off duty. It’s a slippery slope however as there is a general constitutional right to bear arms that applies to everyone not just police officers.

  9. so they need to have their guns int he stadium for a situation where they would need them…

    and those situations are what?
    a dude throwing popcorn on them?

  10. 70,000 drunk people riled up by a game, what could possibly be the problem with allowing them to bring handguns along? Madness

  11. People are LESS safe when guns are present, even legal ones. Cops are humans too, and one day, an off duty cop, carrying a firearm in a stadium, is going to get upset at the guy next to him for texting during the warm ups, snap at him verbally, entice the man next to him to throw popcorn at him, shoot him, kill him and then claim self-protection.

    In my neck of the woods, the cops own the market on gun-related deaths.


  12. Yea totally safe to let guys tote guns in as stadium full of drunk purple people eaters. As if drunk people make rational choice whilst intoxicated. Guess tazers aren’t effective against the beer lol.
    *eye roll*

  13. Right!! That’s a great idea. Lets have a few dozen off duty cops around with guns after several beers wandering round a drunken crowd of 70,000 fans. What could possibly go wrong????

    There are plenty of sober ON duty cops and security people at every game. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason for any off duty cop to carry a weapon on his person. The potential for disaster FAR out weighs any possible benefit. For once the NFL FO has it right.

  14. Off-duty police should be able to carry with very few restrictions. Especially since they never know when they might encounter someone who is not happy with their previous experience when they were on-duty and might wish violence upon them or their families. One of those restrictions should be INTOXICATION. The same legal standard as driving a motor vehicle should be in force for the state involved. I would prefer that an armed off-duty police officer at an NFL game not drink at all but could live with one maybe two beers. A declaration upon entrance so the seat number and names could be recorded may also be a good idea.

  15. Bad apple cops have proven to escalate situations unnecessarily shooting unarmed civilians time and time again. NFL stadiums seem like just the place for such happenings. Terrible Idea.

  16. Simple. You can’t (legally) carry a gun if a business posts a “guns prohibited” sign. So, place a sign at the entrances. Leave your guns in your car. I don’t think we need some guy with a gun shooting into a crowd of 75,000 people because he felt threatened but thinks he’s justified because he passed a 20 question concealed carry permit (which is online in my state!!) and may have had to shoot a non moving target a couple times.

  17. Lete’s see…

    Off duty police officer sitting in stadium with gun.

    Stadiums serve alcohol.

    Stadiums have have raucous fans.

    Stadiums sit persons within close proximity of one another.

    Are they out of their minds!?!

  18. Yeah, makes sense to allow an off-duty officer to carry a gun in a stadium where there are plenty of on-duty security. What bad could they do?

    “An argument over texting in a Florida movie theater Monday triggered a retired Tampa police captain to fatally shoot a man sitting in front of him, as about 25 horrified moviegoers looked on, sheriff’s officials said.”

  19. And what if a fan decides to make a quick grab at the gun?

    They’ve gotten by without too much incidents during these games with current security measures, no need to add guns to the mix.

  20. Then off-duty cops SHOULD NOT be allowed to consume alcohol. They are more or less saying they are always “on duty” since they have an obligation to interfere if a crime is taking place.
    IF a cop consumes alcohol they should be fired on the spot.

  21. most departments require officers to carry while off duty. Is he supposed to leave a loaded gun in his car when he goes inside? Isn’t he supposed to be responsible to “protect and serve” even when off duty? Give him his tools to do his job, especially in todays violent society, where people attack innocent citizens in many uncommon places – walmart, public gatherings, shopping malls, etc..

  22. I don’t want anybody besides on-duty police to have any weapons in the stadium. How am I going to tell the difference between an off-duty cop and anybody else carrying a gun, when I notice the guy next to me is packing?

  23. How often do fans need to be shot at an NFL game? Let alone by a civilian (off duty cop)

    I support gun rights, but whatever law is passed should apply to everyone.

    Plain clothes cops should, as Tomlin would say, obviously be allowed to carry, but off duty cops should be held the the same standard as any other responsible person.

  24. Ok, commenters, lets get some things straight here…

    This is about “off duty” police officers.. Not retired, and not about people with a carry permit. It’s “off duty” police officers. That’s it.

    If there’s a sign that bans guns, you cannot go in with a gun, reguardless of having a carry permit.

    The carry permit in mn, is not just a simple 20 question online thing. You have to take an 8 hour class at minimum. You also have to qualify with shooting. Then you go thru an extensive background check by your local police department, or sheriff department.

    No matter what… Carry permit, off duty police officer, on duty police officer.. Whatever. If you have any, and I mean any alcohol on your breath, and you are carrying a firearm in mn.. Be prepared to lose your gun rights forever, and also be prepared for 3 hots and a cot for a while as well. It’s a felony!

    Also, just so you know. NFL security, as well as security at other stadiums and venues is terrible. Do you know how many people sneak weapons into these things? I’ve noticed more guns at football, basketball, hockey games and concerts than you could imagine!

    You anti gun folks don’t realize that more deaths have come from things other than guns! And yes, I am a gun toting, 2A supporting nut, with a couple of gun safes fully stocked. I have more money stuck into guns than most of you have into your houses!

  25. efoor says: Feb 19, 2014 9:05 AM

    I don’t want anybody besides on-duty police to have any weapons in the stadium. How am I going to tell the difference between an off-duty cop and anybody else carrying a gun, when I notice the guy next to me is packing?

    Why are you concerned about telling the difference between an off duty cop and any normal joe… Are you the fan that wants to start fights with fans of the opposite team? And your scared that it could be someone that’s carrying a gun?

    Maybe you need to learn to be a bit more responsible. Have your fun, but don’t threaten someone’s life!

  26. Up until 2011, most stadiums didn’t even deploy metal detectors, so you’d better believe that random people had been carrying guns into NFL games for decades. Shockingly, NFL stadiums had no more shootings than anywhere else, and that’s even including Raiders games. Statistically, they’ve been safer than gun-free school zones.

    That said, it should be up to venue owners to decide whether they want to ban guns on their property or not, period.

  27. Maybe the court will recognize one of two things…

    “…the RIGHT to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Which has been affirmed by SCOTUS as a personal RIGHT and is not something that can be legislated away.

    Being that MOST Football Stadiums are PUBLIC Venues or at best “joint” public/private venue, the RIGHT of the People to Keep and Bear Arms trumps any desire to keep the stadium a “gun free zone”… However, in the case of completely private venues, the owner of the venue has an absolute Right to keep his/her facility gun free.

    Having said that, MY RIGHT trumps your fear!

  28. The governments in various locals taking it upon themselves to ban the legal activity of smoking in private businesses like bars and restaurants without the business owners’ ok has already eroded private property rights in a major way.

    I’m a gun owner but I see nothing wrong with places that don’t want guns in them not allowing them. It should always be up to the property owner what they do and don’t allow. I really wish owners would take a standagainst serving alcohol in their stadiums instead. Drunk drivers kill a lot more people than people with their own legally owned firearms do.
    This is a silly statement so let me fix it:

    fordmandalay says: Feb 19, 2014 9:48 AM

    Not all guns are owned by idiots, but all idiots own guns.
    Should read: not all idiots get drunk but all drunks who are dumb enough to get drunk off of $12 beers in a stadium then drive home are idiots.

  29. Amazing that most front-line cops in england manage to do their jobs w/o a gun, but off-duty cops here think they need to be armed at all times…

    Unless they’re subject to zero alcohol requirement, this seems like a terrible idea.

  30. This is America jack and we deserve blah blah blah, why change a good thing carry at home, it will make the rest of us feel safer. Let those in uniform and who are officially on duty carry.

  31. Ok. We don’t shoot eachother after games anyway so who cares. As long as they can have a gun n boat show at the new stadium in the summertime like they did at the Dome nobody will care.

  32. just take a closer look at society. Too many things happening to deny the right and duty off An officer to protect and serve. I agree with the consumption of alcohol should not be tolerated while carrying and most departments mandate that it’s avoided or disciplinary action will be taken. However some ppl should just stay quiet here cause they’ve no idea. Making reference to the popcorn incident is just……..well make your own mind up. But ppl are always ready to crash on a cop cause they think they know everything.. I know for one that if I need a cop at a game and he’s there prior to the stadium security and he needs to use deadly force then I would be thankful. So the fact of the matter is that yes restricting An “off duty cop” to not being able to carry is not allowing him to do his job. And for the reference regarding england. Pls they don’t have carry permits. And the fact is that if the general public in this great nation didn’t have a gun for each room in their house then the”police wouldn’t need them either.

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