Recently in the news we see where the NFL has decided that it doesn’t want off-duty officers carrying firearms at games. Typically when we hear such news we automatically (or at least I automatically think) of the off-duty municipal or county officer. Many of us think, “That’s okay. Why would he want to carry at a game anyway?” Here’s my challenge:
If the NFL wants to ban off-duty officers from carrying at games, I hope they’ve realized that the policy applies to law enforcement officers at every level of government: towns, cities, counties, states and federal officers. That’s problem one. Do they realize that their policy effectively ban FBI, DEA, ATF, US Marshals, border patrol agents, immigration agents and virtually every criminal investigative agent in the country from being armed? Was that their intent? I think the NFL probably feels it’s a good idea not to have “common” off-duty officers at games where alcohol is often consumed and emotions sometimes run high. Better to keep them in sports bars where alcohol is often consumed and emotions run high, right?
Let’s be realistic: Law enforcement professionals are human. We’re imperfect. That acknowledged, NFL players are human and are far from perfect. I understand the concern of having a potential problem in a huge bowl filled with thousands of people when one or more of them decides to go on a rampage. My question is: when was the last time that happened? I can’t find record of such.
But wait, when was the last time a terrorist group decided to attack a large structure full of people? Um… a mall in Kenya? The twin towers in NY? The Pentagon? Nah… I’m being unrealistic right? There’s no reason for us to think that terrorists would EVER try to attack a large sports event, right? After all, there’s so much security and so many officers and… oh, wait: By banning off-duty officers from carrying guns at NFL games, the NFL has managed to effectively do two things: reduce the number of trained, aware and armed GOOD GUYS at the games who might prevent or inhibit the effectiveness of an attack, AND (probably of bigger concern in the long run to the NFL) reduced the number of paying attendees – because I know a bunch of officers who will no longer attend games since they’ve been prohibited from carrying a gun AND THEIR GENERAL ORDERS REQUIRE THEM TO BE ARMED OFF-DUTY.
Hey NFL: You wanna take a second and think about this again?