The head of the nation’s largest police union has asked the NFL to drop their policy of banning retired and off-duty cops from carrying weapons in stadiums on game-day, citing fears of terrorism after the Paris attacks, reports Fox News.
In a letter obtained by BuckeyeFirearms, National Fraternal Order of Police Chuck Canterbury claims that the ban on guns makes NFL games a target for terrorist groups like ISIS, and that the NFL should — at the very least — allow off-duty and retired cops to pack heat at the games.
“Today, I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to urge you to rescind this policy, which weakens the safety and security of NFL players, personnel and fans,” Canterbury wrote in his letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The terrorist attacks and threats of attacks from organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are selecting targets based on the amount of death and injury they can inflict — mass murder and casualty events.”
“Well-attended venues and areas are being deliberately targeted by the radical killers who do not intend or expect to survive the assault,” the letter continued. “Law enforcement, even when working actively with highly trained and skilled security professionals, cannot be certain that all threats will be detected and neutralized.”
In the Paris attack, a terrorist attempted to enter a well-attended soccer match only to be stopped by security, at which point he set off his suicide vest outside of the stadium.
Although NFL stadiums are traditionally patrolled by armed guards as well as on-duty uniformed police officers, Canterbury doesn’t believe that is enough.
“As you know, the FOP does not understand and does not agree with the League on this matter, especially with respect to active and retired law enforcement officers,” the union head wrote. “Law enforcement officers, which you regularly employ to protect teams and the stadiums in which they play, do not suddenly become a security risk if they attend a an NFL game on their day off or after they retire.”
A spokesperson for the NFL says the league has security under control, including metal detectors at the gates, and that adding more guns to the mix could be hazardous if there was an incident.
“Off-duty officers attend games as spectators and are unknown to working law enforcement officers and security personnel,” explained NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “They may not have the same training and do not participate in the weekly preparation meetings. They are not included in the on-site chain of command. The well-intentioned display or use of guns could have serious unintended and potentially tragic consequences.”
Canterbury’s request comes at a time when police nationwide are under fire for shooting unarmed citizens while on duty, as well as multiple cases of officers assaulting the public — and fellow officers — while off-duty.
A retired policeman is currently facing trial for shooting a young father at a Florida movie theater after the victim reportedly threw popcorn at him after he complained about texting during the movie previews.