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Can the Rams Ban Off-Duty Police from Carrying Guns?

Megan Lynch @MLynchOnAir
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An external view of Edward Jones Dome taken September 28, 2008 (Getty/Dilip Vishwanat)

An external view of Edward Jones Dome taken September 28, 2008 (Getty/Dilip Vishwanat)

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – The Rams say they’ll block any off-duty cops who try to bring guns to the Edward Jones Dome.

It’s a policy handed down from the league.  A statement sent to KMOX from the NFL says while the league appreciates law enforcement officers, they would not have been briefed in game-day security strategy or emergency response procedures and protocols.

This is the full text of the statement e-mail to the station:

We appreciate all law enforcement officers and have full confidence in their ability to enforce the law and protect public safety. We believe that the interest of public safety is best served by limiting the number of weapons inside stadiums to those required by officers that perform specifically assigned law enforcement working functions and game day duties.

Everyone permitted inside the stadium is screened with a metal detector and their personal belongings are searched.  As a result of this, the likelihood of the need for the use of deadly force inside the stadium as a law enforcement response is extremely remote.

Off-duty law enforcement officers attending games do so as ticketed spectators. They are unknown to the working law enforcement officers and have not been briefed or participated in pre-game day or game-day law enforcement planning, strategy, and emergency response procedures and protocols. They are not bound by “on-duty” department or agency policies that restrict their use of alcohol or subject them to other behavior standards and are not within the present law enforcement chain of command.

Yet when we contacted the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, he told us, he’d been given assurances by the Rams Security Director that this was only a recommendation and the Rams intended to continue to allow off-duty police to carry their service weapons into the Dome.

Our first attempts to contact the Rams PR department were unsuccessful, so KMOX News tried to call Rams Security directly.  That’s when we got a call from the Communications Director who told us that the Rams would uphold the league policy — no off-duty cops with guns in the stadium.   KMOX requested an interview with someone from the team twice and were told “no one would be available”.

But it may not be up to the Rams or the NFL at all.  In Texas, state law trumps the league policy.

It would appear Missouri’s does also.  According to state statute, off-duty officers are exempt from prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons — even in stadiums (see sections 571.107 and 571.030).

Copyright KMOX Radio

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