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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