Group wants off-duty officers to carry guns in NFL stadiums

As we approach Super Bowl 50 there is a debate about whether guns should be allowed in NFL stadiums in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

The National Fraternal Order of Police thinks off duty or retired police officers should be allowed to carry guns at NFL games.

The group, which is the largest police union in the country, is asking the league to tweak its policy and allow off-duty or retired officers to carry a gun into NFL stadiums.

In a letter sent to commissioner Roger Goddell back on November 20, the union's president Chuck Canterbury wrote that off-duty police officers are the best bet for stopping a terrorist attack inside a stadium.

In part he wrote, "well-attended venues and areas are being deliberately targeted by the radical killers who do not intend or expect to survive the assault... active and retired law enforcement officers must meet a much higher standard of qualification than your average permit holder and must keep their firearms training up to date continuously."

Reaction to the proposal is mixed.

The NFL released the following statement:  "We have the highest respect for people in law enforcement and the full confidence in their ability to enforce the law and protect public safety. Our policy was reached after an extensive process, including consultation with a wide range of law enforcement personnel and security experts.

We concluded that public safety inside NFL stadiums on game days would be best-served by the carrying of firearms by on-duty officers specifically assigned to work the game as part of the comprehensive public safety plan for the event. This approach has been certified by the Department of Homeland Security under the SAFETY Act (Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies).

Security on gameday includes on-duty uniformed armed law enforcement officers in addition to unarmed civilian security personnel. These officers are trained in facility specific response procedures and security protocols; they have specific game day assignments, responsibilities, and duties and they are subject to an established chain of command. They train together on a regular basis and they are well known to each other.

Off-duty officers attend games as spectators and are unknown to working law enforcement officers and security personnel. 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 gun could have serious unintended and potentially tragic consequences."

The National Fraternal Order of Police says they plan on reaching out to team owners, venue owners and local businesses to share their concerns.