The NFL and Off-Duty LEOs: Put Me In Coach
So now the NFL has weighed in on the gun control debate. Oh, they will hide behind statements of “security plans” and “we need to know where all armed people are” but do not be fooled. This is an anti-gun policy that has been coming for a long time.
We have seen it before, too. The World of Coca Cola and the Atlanta Aquarium both prohibit off-duty LEOs from carrying firearms inside their walls. They cite “public safety,” and the same nonsense cited by the NFL and the aquarium cites the danger of discharging a firearm inside of the building due to the large amount of glass. However, these are anti-gun policies instituted as policy statements.
Even the Veterans Administration is in on the act. A LEO friend of mine had to escort his dad to an appointment. His dad has dementia. The LEO picked up his dad at the end of his shift and hurried to the VA to make an appointment. He was told he could not enter the premises because he was armed. He was in full uniform!! However, fear not! The VA has signs posted inside the facility that state, “The citizens in this facility have been disarmed for your safety and convenience.” I feel safer.
I believe I can solve the NFL issue in one weekend. For one weekend, tell every NFL team that on-duty LEOs will not work at their games. The on-duty LEOs are there to fulfill an insurance underwriting requirement. In most cases, no uniformed LEOs, no games. Pure and simple.
I have personally assisted on-duty LEOs while off-duty in plain clothes. In more than one occasion, I jumped in to prevent or limit a physical assault or to help a LEO make a physical arrest with a subject who was actively resisting. Having off-duty LEOs on any property makes the citizens safer. Having them armed is just common sense.With active shooter cases in the press, these policies are absurd.
So, for the LEOs reading this, do not take this nonsense from the NFL or any other facility. Boycott them. Tell your friends to do the same. Inundate them with letters, emails, blog posts, newspaper editorials, and comments on news websites and social media. Tell the NFL that they cannot rely on one branch of government to build their facilities and disrespect another branch. Remind the NFL that the facilities in which they play were purchased with public bonds.
In 2004, Congress passed and President Bush signed the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. The Act, authored and pushed through by the Fraternal Order of Police, recognized the needs of active and retired LEOs to protect themselves and their families as well as the public benefits of having armed active and retired LEOs everywhere in our society. Perhaps NFL officials need to read that law. They should also consider that if an emergency arises at a stadium, lots of LEOs, in uniform and plainclothes, who are “not familiar with the security plan” will respond…because you will be calling them for help!
For years, I have heard LEOs say they do not care where private citizens are restricted from carrying firearms because they are allowed to carry everywhere. Perhaps you should rethink that theory. The NFL policy proves you cannot be content to watch the rights of others being infringed because you will one day be in the same position. Stay safe.