NEW YORK (CBS Sports) — A new proposed amendment to the Revised Code of Washington would change laws currently prohibiting a private company, such as the Seattle Seahawks, from banning guns from stadiums on public land, CBS Sports’ Will Brinson reports.
It is not currently illegal to carry a firearm into a game under Washington law, but CenturyLink Field, as well as Safeco Field and any other stadium, are allowed to prohibit folks from bringing certain items, including firearms, into said stadiums.
House Bill 1015, proposed by three Republican members of the state House of Representatives, would eliminate the stadiums’ ability to “prohibit persons with a valid concealed pistol license from carrying a concealed pistol in any facility or on any grounds of a facility.”
CenturyLink, like Safeco, is located on public property. But it’s run by a private enterprise — one that prohibits people from bringing in guns.
The new law, first noticed by the Seattle Times, would change that.
Here’s the full text of the proposed law:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2.
A new section is added to chapter 36.102 RCW to read as follows:
(1) A public stadium authority may not prohibit persons with a valid concealed pistol license from carrying a concealed pistol in any facility or on any grounds of a facility that is owned, operated, managed, administered, controlled, or maintained by the public stadium authority, or leased or rented to a private or public entity by the public stadium authority.
(2) A private entity that operates, manages, administers, controls, maintains, or leases or rents a facility from a public stadium authority may not prohibit persons with a valid concealed pistol license from carrying a concealed pistol in the facility or on the grounds of the facility.
Additionally, the law seeks to prohibit “any local government” from stopping folks from carrying guns into stadiums or convention centers, etc.
A local governmental entity may not, whether by law, ordinance, regulation, rule, policy, or contractual agreement, prohibit persons with a valid concealed pistol license from carrying a concealed pistol in any stadium, convention center, arena, or similar facility, or on the grounds of any such facility, that is owned, operated, managed, administered, controlled, or maintained by the local governmental entity, or leased or rented to a private or public entity by the local governmental entity.
The logistics of bringing a pistol into a stadium legally would be tricky to say the least, particularly when you consider the current restrictions on items allowed into NFL games.
The league doesn’t allow most bags in games, requiring fans to utilize clear plastic bags to bring items into games. It would be a stunning turn if the league suddenly allowed people to bring firearms into the stadium.
And there’s the whole matter of fan safety, of course.
We saw in Raiders-Chiefs that people aren’t afraid to fight in the stands of a football game following a couple of beers and a heated rivalry in a frigid night football game. Fighting in these situations is far from uncommon — adding bullets and guns to these situations literally has deadly potential.
The NFL is hardly afraid to utilize its leverage in certain political situations, typically behind the scenes more than outright, and it would hardly be surprising to see the league cough loudly and inform local politicians that the passage of such a law would be greatly frowned upon.
In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, where a suicide squad targeted a major soccer match, police unions asked the NFL to reconsider its policy of barring off-duty and retired police officers from carrying guns inside stadiums. The NFL said no.
The NFL implemented a stadium gun ban in 2013.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports an appeals court upheld the league’s right to do so in August of 2015, after they were sued by Minnesota police organizations.
In a letter of defending the ban, Goodell said: “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. … 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 that [sic] restrict their use of alcohol or subject them to other on-duty behavior standards.”