MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New NFL security rules will now ban off-duty law enforcement officers from taking their guns into stadiums. But some Minneapolis peace officers are saying they believe the policy is a violation of their rights.
The letter went out Sept. 11, 2013, telling all team owners and presidents that firearms are strictly prohibited within NFL facilities.
The crackdown on firearms concerns Minneapolis Police Federation President John Delmonico. He believes a call for off-duty officers to give up their weapons at the gate violates an officer’s rights, as determined by state law.
The Minneapolis Police Federation sites state law, Chapter 624, which gives police officers full police powers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In other words, they should be allowed to carry their weapons in any public place in the city.
“State law governs the facts that we can carry our guns off-duty in any public facility and any facility in the city of Minneapolis, which encompasses the dome,” Minneapolis Police Federation’s John Delmonico said.
So, Delmonico drafted a letter to Minnesota’s Attorney General.
“I’ve asked the Attorney General to render a legal opinion on whether they can do this or not,” Delmonico said.
Delmonico says off-duty officers without weapons cannot protect the public.
“In today’s world, active shooter cases around the country, schools, churches, malls you know stadiums we’re fully trained we know what to do we know how to do it and having licensed police officers in area like that armed I think can be very beneficial, ” Delmonico said.
In a statement released today, the NFL says there is an average of 600 civilian security personnel and 250 uniformed armed police officers assigned to protect public safety and enforce the law at each stadium on game days.
The NFL believes off duty officers do not know emergency response procedures and protocol and in the event of an incident, the NFL wants to limit the number of firearms in stadiums.
“I have made contact with the Vikings organization this afternoon and I asked them what are their expectations and they politely replied to me that they need some time to think about this, check into this and they will get back to me,” Hennepin County Sheriff Rick Stanek said.
Stanek believes because the stadium was paid for with public tax dollars and the new stadium will be as well, he does not believe the NFL policy applies in Minnesota.
The Sports Facility Commission said this is an NFL issue, so they have nothing to do with it.