An expert scholar on mass shootings labels the NFL’s edict banning off-duty cops from carrying weapons inside stadiums “completely crazy” and suggests the league may be unnecessarily exposing fans to dangers by transforming stadiums into gun-free zones.
“Banning off-duty law-enforcement officers from carrying seems completely crazy to me,” John Lott told Breitbart Sports. “We trust these law-enforcement officers when they are on-duty, but somehow we can’t trust them as soon as they are off-duty. Here these guys are willing to offer protection for free in case there is a terrorist attack and the NFL isn’t willing to let them do it.”
Lott, a onetime colleague of President Barack Obama’s at the University of Chicago, currently serves as president of the Crime Prevention Resource Center. An economist who has held positions at Yale, Stanford, Penn, and Rice, Lott has written extensively in the scholarly and popular press on multiple-victim public shootings.
“There are two ways of trying to prevent mass public shootings: 1) secure an area or 2) let victims defend themselves,” Lott posits. “It is basically impossible to completely secure an area. What you end up accomplishing is just ensuring that victims are defenseless. With unarmed victims, gun-free zones are a magnet for those who want to kill many people quickly.”
The NFL advertising their stadiums as gun-free zones, and the number of people cramped into such a small space, would make for a target-rich area for terrorists or spree shooters, critics of league policy hold. The NFL claims that its security, generally consisting of hundreds of guards and law-enforcement officers, makes off-duty cops bearing arms unnecessary. But at the Super Bowl, numerous layers of NFL security failed to keep a conspiracy theorist lacking credentials from crashing game MVP Malcolm Smith’s post-contest press conference. Shiny-eyed activist Matthew Mills, boasting only credentials to an old music festival, grabbed the microphone from Smith to deliver a short speech about 9/11 following the NFL’s biggest event of the year.
Breitbart Sports awaits comment from the NFL on the controversial gun rule.
The NFL’s policy, announced in September, bans anyone save on-duty police or authorized security from carrying weapons into team stadiums. Already, several lawsuits have challenged the legality of the policy. In February, two Minnesota police associations sued the NFL in the wake of an off-duty officer denied admittance to a Vikings game in December lest he lock his weapon in his automobile. Minnesota state law allows law enforcement officers to carry weapons into private establishments even when entities ban guns on their private property.
New York Police Department unions prepare a similar suit. In Baltimore and Cleveland, police groups have also discussed legal action against the NFL. The Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys have convinced the NFL that Texans won’t abide by the policy given the state’s culture and its laws.
More so than the legality, John Lott questions the wisdom of making stadiums gun-free zones. He tells Breitbart Sports, “Even the most ardent gun control advocate would never put ‘Gun-Free Zone’ signs on their home for an obvious reason.”