National Football League franchises will begin using handheld metal detectors at games beginning next month, according to an e-mail issued Oct. 14 by NFL chief security officer Jeffrey Miller.
The e-mail, obtained by SportsBusiness Journal and reported Thursday by staff writer Don Muret, alerts stadium managers to the league's plan to purchase 3,100 handheld devices from Garrett Inc. and to distribute 100 to each league facility at no cost to teams. Teams will also receive video instruction from Garrett on how to use the equipment.
On Sept. 11, a fan was arrested for illegally using a stun gun during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. In addition, security threats identified this season in FBI and Homeland Security intelligence briefings led the NFL to conclude that the current system of fan patdowns is "not an adequate response."
The timing of the security upgrade would seem perfect for the Green Bay Packers, who announced this week that they will not allow weapons into Lambeau Field, despite the fact that Wisconsin's new concealed carry gun law takes effect Nov. 1. The Packers addressed any uncertainty about whether fans would be allowed to carry a concealed gun into the publicly owned stadium with a statement from the team's head of security Doug Collins.
According to team spokesperson Aaron Popkey, fans will be allowed to keep guns in their cars, but not on their person - even in the parking lot. Moreover, the Packers have been employing their own metal-dection wands since Oct. 2. "We're simply maintaining the ban that we had in place," Popkey says. "Our policy at Lambeau has been to have no weapons at all. So when the law was passed, it was simply a matter of, 'Alright, how does this affect our operations?' And when we got all that sorted out, it came down to the fact that under the lease, we operate the premises, and so we can maintain our ban on weapons. And it does apply to the parking lot, as well."
Violators could face arrest and citation for trespassing, which carries a $177 fine, according to Green Bay police.
Another related item of note to emerge this week: A new Gallup poll indicates that gun ownership in America is at its highest level in two decades.