NYPD union could challenge NFL stadium gun ban for off-duty officers

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

The NFL prohibits off-duty officers from carrying weapons into stadiums. (USATSI)
The NFL prohibits off-duty officers from carrying weapons into stadiums. (USATSI)

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The NFL notified team owners in September that off-duty law enforcement officials would not be allowed to carry guns into stadiums on game days. But according to the New York Post, the New York Police Department's sergeants union is considering legal action against the decision.

Only two NFL teams -- the Cowboys and Texans -- are exempt from the rule. In Texas, state gun laws supersede NFL policy.

This explains why Sergeants Benevolent Association President Edward Mullins says the rule is a violation of any state law that allows off-duty officers to carry their weapons in public places.

“The NFL is telling us that highly trained law enforcement officials shouldn't be allowed to enter stadiums with their guns,” he said.

More details via the Post:

A lawyers plan to submit a “friend of the court” filing that would be attached to a Minnesota lawsuit by two police unions that challenges the policy.

The suit stemmed from a December incident in which an off-duty Minneapolis cop attending a Vikings game was prevented from entering the Metrodome until he checked his weapon in his car.

The NFL maintains that there is already enough security at stadiums on game days without the need for an armed off-duty police presence.

“The on-duty law enforcement personnel assigned to NFL stadiums are specially trained and required to participate in weekly meetings pertaining to pre-game and game day security and law enforcement planning, strategy and emergency response procedures and protocols,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to the Post.

And Jeffrey Miller, the NFL's chief security officer, explained in a letter that, on average, more than 500 civilian security personnel and 150 on-duty law enforcement officials are assigned to every NFL game.

“The policy with respect to firearms was adopted only after a great deal of consideration, which included seeking advice from a wide range of law enforcement personnel and security experts.

“Recognizing that reasonable people may hold a different view, the NFL believes the safest environment for all fans is achieved by limiting the number of firearms and weapons inside stadiums to those required by officers that perform specifically assigned law enforcement working functions and game day duties.”

In October, Ron Pinkston of the Dallas Police Association explained why it was necessary for his officers to keep possession of their weapons, even if they were off-duty.

“Our officers are 24/7, on or off duty, and if they run into a critical incident -- they are required to take action,” Pinkston said at the time. “Our officers will be allowed to carry their weapon into AT&T Stadium and other football stadiums in the State of Texas due to Texas law.”

 
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