Police union seeks exemption from gun ban in NFL stadiums

The National Fraternal Order of Police has asked for an exemption for certain off-duty and retired officers from the current gun ban in NFL stadiums.
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The National Fraternal Order of Police has asked for an exemption for certain off-duty and retired officers from the current ban on guns in NFL stadiums.

Chuck Canterbury, the police union’s president, wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Nov. 20 making the request for the legal carrying of firearms in stadiums by certain individuals associated with law enforcement.

“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.”

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, Canterbury claims that the current policy preventing the concealed carrying of guns in stadiums, “weakens the safety and security of NFL players, personnel and fans.”

Smaller police unions in Michigan, Minnesota and New York have also recently challenged the current policy. In August, the Minnesota Court of Appeals sided with the NFL after the state filed a suit against the league’s gun ban.

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In Texas, however, because state law takes precedent over NFL regulations, the league’s policy does not affect for Cowboys and Texans home games.

An NFL spokesman responded to Canterbury’s request with words from a 2013 letter to the National Fraternal Order of Police by the league’s vice president and chief security officer Jeffrey Miller.

“Public safety inside our stadiums is best served by limiting the carrying of firearms to on-duty law enforcement officers specifically assigned to work the game as a part of the public safety plan for the event,” Miller wrote.​

The NFL currently employs hundreds of security personnel for each game and prohibits the entry of large bags and purses into its stadiums.