Guns in Stadiums? Industry Sectors Weigh in on Incendiary Topic
11 Jan, 2017By: Michael Popke
Last year, the talk was all about whether individuals could carry guns in parks. Problem was, many kids’ sports events were held also there. And that engendered a lot of discussion relating to issues from all sides of the aisle.
This year, the conversation moves to stadiums, with three lawmakers in Washington proposing an end to the ban on weapons in pro venues.
In early December, Bob McCaslin (R-WA), Matt Shea (R-WA) and David Taylor (R-WA) — proposed an end to the ban on weapons in professional football and baseball stadiums. Their bill would allow fans with permits to carry firearms into Seattle Seahawks games at CenturyLink Field and Seattle Mariners games at Safeco Field. Guns currently are banned in both venues, which are located on private land but publicly owned.
And at a time when emotions run high on all sides of the debate, it's difficult for venue owners and operators, as well as event owners and rights holders, to take sides on the issue. For example, CBS News noted issues with physical altercations resulting from 'a couple of beers and a heated rivalry in a frigid night football game.'
The leagues are aware of the concerns of fans. “If you are concerned about bringing your family to a game, then that is an issue,” Amy Trask, a former Oakland Raiders executive who has served on the NFL’s security committee, told The Washington Post. “It’s not just an issue for one team; it’s an issue for all 32 teams. The teams know this. The league knows this.”
No changes to nationwide laws have been made. The question of how things will be handled, and what controls would need to be set are all aspects of the issue that hang in the balance.
Guns in parks has long been an explosive topic, especially as more states passed concealed-carry laws. Fort Wayne, Ind., Councilman Jason Arp in October proposed a city ordinance removing language that would prohibit residents from carrying firearms in city parks, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton proclaimed earlier last year that lawmakers in that state cannot ban licensed gun owners from openly carrying weapons in parks on land owned by the Lavaca-Navidad River Authority.
This is a developing issue. Sports Destination Management will continue to follow it - and to keep its readers informed.