concealed carry in a football stadium

Brace yourselves, football season is coming.

Big crowds and the potential for big danger — both are serious concerns for gun owners who want to go see a game in person, whether it's football, basketball, baseball, etc.

That poses a serious question: can concealed carriers bring weapons into a sports stadium?

Well, yes and no.

Is It Legal To Concealed Carry In A Sports Stadium?

Unsurprisingly, the right to concealed carry in a sports stadium is a legal gray area that changes from state to state, and even stadium to stadium.

There are states that outright ban concealed carry in these locations through state firearms statutes.

concealed carry in sports stadium

Michigan is one example. Look at MCL 28.425o (3):

"Individuals licensed to carry a concealed pistol by Michigan or another state are prohibited from carrying a concealed pistol or a portable device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology on the following premises: … 3. Sports arena or stadium"

Oklahoma is the same. Check out 21 OK Stat § 21-1277 (A) (4):

"A. It shall be unlawful for any person in possession of a valid handgun license issued pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act to carry any concealed or unconcealed handgun into any of the following places: … 4. Any sports arena during a professional sporting event; ..."

Missouri, likewise, has this statutory restriction. It's listed under Section 571.107.16, but it includes an important addition that Oklahoma and Michigan share, leaving the gun in the parking lot:

"No concealed carry permit issued pursuant to sections 571.101 to 571.121, valid concealed carry endorsement issued prior to August 28, 2013, or a concealed carry endorsement or permit issued by another state or political subdivision of another state shall authorize any person to carry concealed firearms into: ... (16) Any sports arena or stadium with a seating capacity of five thousand or more. Possession of a firearm in a vehicle on the premises shall not be a criminal offense so long as the firearm is not removed from the vehicle or brandished while the vehicle is on the premises..."

So, that presents the answer.

Call the stadium.

Ask about the firearms policy.

If firearms are prohibited in the stands, see if your gun can be left locked in a motor vehicle parked on location.

Seahawks fans may be aware of Washington State's approach to this law. It's not explicitly illegal to bring firearms into stadiums throughout the state, but stadium owners have the right to prohibit firearms on location.

Centurylink Field and Safeco Field have both implemented a no-firearms policy.

However, three legislators proposed House Bill 1015 in early 2017 to amend chapter 36.102 of the Revised Code of Washington to remove private owners' ability to “prohibit persons with a valid concealed pistol license from carrying a concealed pistol in any facility or on any grounds of a facility.”

Wisconsin has a similar policy that allows private stadium owners to restrict firearms on location, even though it's generally legally allowed, according to Wisconsin State Senator David Craig.

Some states are making moves to intentionally remove firearms from being carried in college stadiums.

The Arkansas senate voted to remove firearms from college sports stadiums after Governor Asa Hutchinson signed HB 1249 into law as Act 562, which allowed concealed firearms at state colleges, government buildings, a number of bars and the state capitol.

Get ahold of the stadium and politely ask about their firearms policy, or pull up your respective state's firearms statutes. Because private property owners often have the right to prohibit firearms on location, it would be best to contact the specific facilities first, then a local police department.

Seems like a non-issue, given that it's a concealed weapon, but there are real consequences of carrying in these locations.

What Sort Of Trouble Can You Get Into By Carrying Guns In A Sports Stadium?

can you ccw in a stadium

Because this is a state-to-state issue that isn't brought up in federal law, whether you will be in legal trouble for carrying guns in a sports stadium is going to vary.

It goes without saying, but this isn't formal legal advice.

Carrying in a sports stadium can result in trespassing charges, felony charges, misdemeanor charges, fines and civil infractions/citations on the permit holder's record.

For the sake of seeing how states apply those repercussions:

Missouri doesn't recognize it as a criminal act, but doing so can lead to being denied access to a facility.

Refusing to leave the facility will then lead to a citation, and by the third citation the CCW permit will be revoked in Missouri.

In Oklahoma it's a misdemeanor charge that's punishable by a fine of $250.

Michigan is strict on guns in sports stadiums and the resulting offenses reflect that. Authorities will seize the concealed pistol license holder's handgun if it's carried in a prohibited area.

According to the Michigan State Police, in their state a first offense is a state civil infraction, with the permit being suspended for six months. The second offense is a 90-day misdemeanor and $1000 fine, with the permit potentially being revoked. The third offense may result in a 4-year felony, $5000 fine and revoked permit.

Whether you have to leave that semi-auto or revolver at home, in the car or in the holster, be sure to check with the facilities, police and state laws — it's just a part being a lawful gun owner.

No matter where you go with a holstered handgun, a good gun belt should be part of your everyday carry gear. From August 14 to 28, Bigfoot Gun Belts is offering $10 off all leather belts.

Jake Smith  

About The Author

Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the Pacific Northwest who enjoys shooting pictures and ammunition outdoors.

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