National police union asks NFL to remove stadium gun ban over Paris attacks

The National Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union in the United States, wants more good guys with guns in football stadiums.

In a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, they called on the league to remove its ban on concealed weapons in stadiums that has been in place since 2013, citing the recent stadium attacks in Paris. In the letter, the FOP seemed unbothered by the fact that weapons bans at a soccer stadium in Paris actually prevented one of the attackers from entering the arena and killing far more people. As they wrote:

The terrorist attacks and threats of attacks from organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are selecting targets based on the amount of death and injury they can inflict — mass murder and casualty events. Well-attended venues and areas are being deliberately targeted by the radical killers who do not intend or expect to survive the assault. Law enforcement, even when working actively with highly trained and skilled security professionals, cannot be certain that all threats will be detected and neutralized.

As a coalition of police officers in Detroit wrote, in their own letter, “Law enforcement officers often carry a weapon while off duty not only for their own personal protection but to provide a critical response when circumstances call for immediate police action…Current events, not least the unconscionable acts of terrorism we have recently experienced, only add to the desirability of having readily available armed law enforcement officers even if they are not officially ‘on duty.'”

Reliant Stadium, gun-friendly home of the Houston Texans, via Wikimedia Commons

Reliant Stadium, gun-friendly home of the Houston Texans, via Wikimedia Commons

The Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys are the only teams in the league that are exempted from the ban, as Texas state law rendered it illegal.

As ThinkProgress reported earlier today, the NFL responded to the FOP’s letter by reiterating their original rationale for the policy in 2013: that not only are the uniformed, on-duty security officers present at games sufficient for maintaining stadium security, but that allowing off-duty cops to carry could do more harm than good in the event of an actual attack. As an NFL spokesperson added, off-duty law enforcement officers carrying firearms at football games:

…are unknown to working law enforcement officers…. If permitted to carry concealed weapons, they create deconfliction issues for working law enforcement officers and increase the potential for “blue on blue” response confrontations. They also impact security screening personnel that are required to accurately identify, verify, and authenticate multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agency badges and credentials. Moreover, off-duty law enforcement officers are not included in the on-site law enforcement chain of command or bound by department or agency on-duty policies that restrict their use of alcohol or subject them to other on-duty behavior statements.

In other words, in the event of an actual attack, the good guys with guns tend to assume that all of the non-uniformed guys with guns are bad. That gets complicated when you have (possibly drunk) off-duty cops wielding Glocks while wearing their favorite Ben Roethlisberger jersey.

Someone needs to tell these guys that The Dark Knight Rises wasn’t a documentary:


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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23 Responses to “National police union asks NFL to remove stadium gun ban over Paris attacks”

  1. Billy D says:

    No off duty officer should be allowed to carry a firearm in a stadium. Alcohol, Large Crowds and Guns don’t mix well.

  2. LanceThruster says:

    Moar gunz! Maor gunz now!!

  3. The_Fixer says:

    Do Federal laws prohibit guns in stadiums? I don’t know the answer to that, I suspect not. Perhaps someone else can answer that.

  4. Don Chandler says:

    It’s a crazy notion. Imagine an innocent guy with the named Ahmed going to the Cowboy’s game with a real gun, not a faux gun. By rights, he can carry a gun. But given the Islamophobia in the State, it might be suicidal for Ahmed to carry one. But that is just what a Daesh terrorist intends, not your average Ahmed. Yeah, “it’s begging for it.”

    Good point on the conflict between state and business. Do federal laws prohibit guns in Stadiums?

  5. The_Fixer says:

    They are a testing ground already, by state law the NFL can’t prohibit guns in those stadiums. It’s only a matter of time before we see a shooting at one of those stadiums.

    I think that scenario would become reality more quickly in some of the other stadiums known for really rowdy fans. In Green Bay, there’s relatively little game-day violence fueled by alcohol, just a lot of people acting really stupid. Game-day ejections and arrests are generally low in number compared to other stadiums in the NFL. It bumps up when a visiting team known for violent fans is in the mix, though. I shudder to think what would happen if guns were allowed in Lambeau when Oakland or Pittsburgh comes here.

    Texas’ nullification of the NFL ban brings up another interesting conflict: the State interfering with free enterprise. I thought the Republicans were against such things.

    Regardless, it’s just a dumb idea and it’s not just asking for trouble, it’s begging for it.

  6. 2patricius2 says:

    Cause nothing makes a crowd at a football game where lots of people are drinking safer than a crowd filled with drunk gun-toting fans. And if some terrorist starts peppering the crowd with bullets, all the gun toters can pull out their guns and start peppering the crowd as well. And if some in the crowd blow themselves up, the gun-toting fans can make it all better by shooting their guns all over the place.

  7. 2karmanot says:

    Drunken sports morons with guns——-what possibly could go wrong?

  8. Don Chandler says:

    Seems like a good testing ground for this NFL idea would be Dallas and Houston. If it doesn’t work well, then maybe just keep it in Dallas and Houston.

  9. Outspoken1 says:

    Yes, that ‘good guy/gal with a gun’ really helped at the Planned Parenthood Clinic shooting here in Colorado Springs – oh, wait – no ‘citizen’ with a gun helped. Huh!?!

  10. jharp says:

    “The Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys are the only teams in the league that are exempted from the ban.”

    So what are the odds on how long it takes until some yahoo shoots someone. Any of you math people care to do the math?

  11. Max_1 says:

    The National Police union should be disbanded…
    … They defend far too many of their criminals.

  12. olandp says:

    What could go wrong? Guns, alcohol, and sports fans who’s team loses.

  13. nicho says:

    Because guns ars so effective against an explosive belt. And if everyone has a gun, here’s what happens.

    http://youtu.be/vjqIJW_Qr3c

  14. Doug105 says:

    Are they shooting = bad guy.

  15. LanceThruster says:

    Oh, FFS!

  16. Bill_Perdue says:

    Unions of cops and prison bulls should be expelled from the AFL-CIO and the CLC. Like Democrat and Republican politicians, they’re the enemy.

  17. The_Fixer says:

    Oh, I can imagine the fatal destruction that a possibly impaired and armed off-duty cop would create. We’re talking a facility that is, for all practical purposes, an “in the round” configuration. You have spectators on all sides, bullets bounce off concrete and are not stopped by empty space.

    I can only imagine what would happen here in Green Bay, where in-stadium alcohol consumption is legendary.

    This is, simply and in plain language, a “dumb fuckin’ idea.” It’s telling that a national police organization, which is supposed to operate in support of its members’ presumed duty to keep the peace, would even make this suggestion.

    Of course it will enjoy wide support from the right-wing authoritarian bunch.

  18. JaneE says:

    Exactly. How is anyone to know a guy with a gun is a good guy rather than a bad guy?

  19. John Smith says:

    The tailgating should be better than ever. Why wait for the game?

  20. Nicholas A Kocal says:

    Guns and alcohol, what a great combination. Then add drunk fans from different teams.

  21. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Over excited fans, groups supporting opposing teams, plenty of beer, and guns – what could possible go wrong?

  22. Indigo says:

    That’s a very good example of a mental health issue, that the primary recourse the police union (AFL-CIO?) has is more guns. That’s what the conservatives are talking about when they say it’s a mental health problem, they just don’t yet get where the infirmity is coming from.

  23. ComradeRutherford says:

    YEs.

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