Guns at the Frozen Tundra?

by Robert VerBruggen

After several missteps — a few years ago, a bill would have become law had not two Democratic supporters been too timid to vote for a veto override — my home state of Wisconsin is finally set to enact concealed carry.

However, this poses some problems regarding the home of the Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field:

According to Fox 11, the NFL has a policy that fans aren’t allowed to carry guns into any stadium. But depending on how Wisconsin’s new law is interpreted, the NFL may not have the right to enforce that policy: The stadium is owned by the City of Green Bay and Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District, not the NFL.

Like Reason’s Steve Chapman, I support the right to forbid guns on your own property, and I also think public entities should follow the contracts they sign with private actors. So, if there is a conflict here, perhaps an adjustment should be passed. But after looking at the bill itself, I’m not sure there’s a problem.

The key passage is that “a licensee or an out-of-state licensee may carry a concealed weapon anywhere in this state except as provided under subs. (15m) and (16) and ss. 943.13 (1m) (c) and 948.605 (2) (b) 1r.”

The first of those provisions says that employers may forbid their employees to carry guns, except in their cars; the second makes specific exceptions to the law, such as courthouses; and the final one is about schools. But the third one, 943.13 (1m) (c), is defined in the concealed-carry bill itself, and it pretty clearly allows Lambeau to keep guns out.

It makes it a trespassing violation to carry guns in various places, such as residences whose owners have said no guns are allowed. One provision pertains to a “special event,” defined as “an event that is open to the public, is for a duration of not more than 3 weeks, and either has designated entrances to and from the event that are locked when the event is closed or requires an admission.” It’s a trespassing violation to take a gun to such an event if the “organizers” say no guns are allowed.

Another provision makes it trespassing when someone “enters or remains in any part of a building that is owned, occupied, or controlled by the state or any local governmental unit . . . if the state or local governmental unit has notified the actor not to enter or remain in the building while carrying a firearm or with that type of firearm.” I think Lambeau obviously qualifies.

To be clear: None of this is an endorsement of the NFL’s policy; while it’s good to keep alcohol and firearms apart, there’s no reason to forbid non-drinking spectators to carry guns at games. While I’ve become skeptical of claims that concealed carry actually reduces crime, no honest reading of the evidence could lead one to conclude it increases it.

Right Field

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