The National Football League has been sued by two Minnesota law enforcement organizations challenging its authority to prohibit off-duty officers from bringing guns into stadiums, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Since 2003, state law has allowed licensed peace officers to carry weapons in private establishments, even when signs banning guns are posted. In September, the NFL issued a new policy forbidding anyone other than on-duty officers and private security personnel working its games to carry weapons in stadiums.
Not only does that policy violate state law, it's unenforceable, argues a lawsuit filed yesterday in Hennepin County District Court. The suit picked up steam after an off-duty Minneapolis police officer attending the Minnesota Vikings' final game in December was told to take his gun and lock it in his car. “This is the most unsafe thing you could do,” said Dennis Flaherty of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, a plaintiff. “Officers are trained and encouraged to be able to respond 24 hours a day. This is terrible public policy.” The suit appears to be the first legal challenge to the NFL's gun policy, said Lt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, the other plaintiff.