SEATTLE — There is no question the Seattle sports scene is on fire: The wins, the excitement. But outside the arena, a political match is brewing.
“I think the intent of their legislation is very clear and it really is about the Seahawks, the Mariners and Sounders,” state Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, said.
State Rep. Matt Shea, a Republican who represents the Spokane Valley, is fighting to allow guns inside stadiums like CenturyLink and Safeco Field.
“This is the worst thing I’ve heard in a very long time and we’ve heard a lot of bad things lately,” Seattle resident Kathleen Park said of the proposed legislation.
House Bill 1015 states the public stadium authority or the public facilities district cannot prohibit a person with a valid concealed pistol license. It also says local government cannot ban guns on any facility it controls or maintains.
“You are changing the entire public safety risk profile, it doesn't make sense,” Reuven said.
The Democratic senator says he`s disappointed with the bill.
“You don`t have the right to come into a crowded area and introduce a level of risk that is unnecessary, but for the Second Amendment Foundation the risk is not the person carrying the concealed pistol."
“A lot of that has to go back to San Bernardino, what happened in Orlando,” said Dave Workman, with the Second Amendment Foundation.
“We can’t live in fear," Park said. "If we are all running around with guns in our hands, what`s going to happen.”
Some sports fans also say they worry about guns and alcohol mixing.
“There is such a large consumption of alcohol being consumed, you don`t want there to be a possibility that someone to feel like they have to retaliate with a gun,” Will Power said.
But the Second Amendment Foundation says more than 566,000 Washingtonians have a concealed pistol license and they already carry in public places without problems.
“Shopping malls, grocery stores, Westlake Plaza,” Workman said.
The group says guns inside stadiums doesn't pose a threat.
“A responsible armed citizen is going to go to a football game they are not going to get drunk but he will have the ability to protect those children and families you are talking about and protect them to and from where he parked his car,” Workman said.
But opponents say the initiative will be more harmful than helpful.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the Mariners told Q13 News they are keeping an eye on the measure. And Brian McCarthy with The NFL released a statement:
"We haven’t seen the proposed legislation but we have a policy prohibiting carrying a weapon into NFL stadiums,” McCarthy said.
Q13 News reached out to Shea and the other two Republican lawmakers co-sponsoring the bill -- David Taylor and Bob McCaslin. None of the lawmakers got back to Q13 News as of Monday night.
But days after our story aired, a republican representative referred us to a statement given to Northwest News Network by Matt Shea.
Shea defended his legislation saying the purpose is to reaffirm existing state law specifically stating that local governments may not place restrictions on concealed pistol carriers.
Shea told a reporter at Northwest News Network that stadiums and convention centers are one of the likely targets of a terrorist attack.