Some people will do anything to get their names in the news.
Even if comes at the expense of the public’s safety.
Three Washington legislators are pushing a bill that would force arenas and stadiums to allow fans to bring in weapons if they have concealed carry permits. Because adding guns to a highly charged atmosphere where alcohol already offsets common sense far too often seems like a great idea.
“What I’ve been trying to do is foster bipartisan support for common sense solutions to gun violence,” said Laurie Jinkins, the Tacoma area representative who chairs the Washington House Judiciary Committee.
“This seems to be the antithesis for that.”
There was no public groundswell for this proposed legislation nor any event prompting it. Seattle’s professional teams did not ask for it, and the major professional leagues have rules that specifically prohibit fans from bringing weapons into stadiums.
I know, it’s been a while since you read the fine print when you entered a stadium. But trust me, it’s there.
No, this is grandstanding, pure and simple. Representatives Bob McCaslin, Matt Shea and David Taylor saw an opportunity to pander to the gun lobby and stoke fear in those who see a Second Amendment-repealing Boogeyman around every corner these days, and they jumped on it.
Current Washington law prevents possession of firearms at “any stadium or convention center, operated by a city, town, county, or other municipality” unless an individual has a concealed carry permit. But most stadiums are operated by public facilities districts or private entities, and thus, can make their own rules on weapons.
The bill proposed by McCaslin, Shea and Taylor would expand the law so it specifically prohibits public facilities districts and public stadium authorities, or any private group that leases a stadium or arena from them, from banning pistols for those with concealed carry permits.
None of the three responded to a request for comment Tuesday, probably because they know there’s no good way to defend this.
And spare me the argument that a gun would defuse a situation or a potential criminal. These stadiums already have security in place screening fans to avoid weapons being smuggled in. Now we want to eliminate that?
No one is trying to gut the Second Amendment. But Americans have generally agreed that there are some places where it’s just not smart to have guns. Schools, for example, and public parks. Court rooms. Hospitals.
That stadiums and arenas should be part of that list is a no-brainer.
There is a reason most stadiums have a drunk tank and a holding cell, and it’s not because of an abundance of storage space. We tend to throw reason out the window when it comes to our favorite teams and players, and that happens a whole lot more quickly when alcohol is involved.
Go to any game, and odds are you’ll see at least one fan being escorted out by security if not a group of them. It’s not uncommon for players to complain of being pelted by fans — by both physical objects and verbal abuse.
And now these Washington legislators want to add guns to the equation.
Fortunately, there seems to be little support for McCaslin, Shea and Taylor’s proposal, an example of government overreach if there ever was one.
Sporting events are for fun and foam fingers, not firearms.
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.