By: Tyler Chuck
Okay everybody. 2017 has had some pretty bad ideas. We’ve seen everything from “Alternative Facts” to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, so it’s not like this year is off to a particularly brilliant start. But this one idea takes the cake.
Today, I’d like to discuss by far the worst idea of the year: Arkansas passing a law allowing concealed weapons into sporting events at government-owned facilities starting in 2018.
Yes, you read that correctly. The University of Arkansas will allow guns at their football and basketball games. Here are my top three reasons that Governor Asa Hutchinson’s law is just the worst. I’m sure you can think of more, but sports and guns do not seem like a good mix. Let me explain…
1. Sports Are Emotional and Confrontational
Athletic competition is an endeavor that is designed to bring out emotion among fans. This is under most circumstances, a good thing. A last second defensive stand or buzzer beater is something that builds great pride, camaraderie, and passion. Yet, in an emotional state, people typically do things that they typically would not. Sports cause people to show passion in sometimes odd ways. Do you think that under everyday circumstances that a fully grown man would yell profanities at a person dressed in a black and white striped suit? Or could you see students painting their faces, coordinating cheers, and waving balloons back and forth just to make someone miss?
The point is that sports bring out emotion and make people do things that they would otherwise not do. When guns are involved, the stakes are higher and this potentially becomes problematic.
Sports also breed an “us vs. them” mentality that is not typically the best idea when guns are involved (see Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, etc.). In addition to the emotion brought up in sports, the fact that there are teams in direct competition in a sporting event gives fans someone to deem “the enemy.” And sometimes when we demonize others, we don’t see them as human. It would be one thing to yell at the opposing team or boo loudly at what they are doing, but when a gun is there, there is simply the possibility to do something much worse.
2. Alcohol + Guns =Problematic
Even though the NCAA does not allow alcohol to be sold at their sporting events (for good reason I might add), but you can be sure that plenty of drinking happens during tailgates or is brought into a game. Drinking is a huge part of sports culture. It is now and probably always will be. I don’t have a problem with drinking and sports, but I do have a problem with drinking and guns. Alcohol by its very nature is meant to make you feel relaxed and inhibit your decision making. And trust me, you want people that have guns to make good decisions. The consequences can be great.
It sure doesn’t help that Arkansas doesn’t have the best record with guns either.
3. Hostility for Visiting Teams
Sporting events are one of the biggest reasons that an outsider would attend the state of Arkansas. No offense meant to Little Rock or Fayetteville, but there aren’t exactly cities in Arkansas that attract tourists in a way that a Las Vegas, New York, or Chicago would. The biggest reason I can think of to go to Arkansas at all would be to take a trip with my sports team. Thus, Arkansas football and basketball games probably are the most diverse places in the state of Arkansas. They might be the places that you will see people with views most different than the majority of Arkansas citizens.
College athletes from places that do not allow concealed weapons are going to feel even more uncomfortable coming to a place that they know guns could be in the arena. And I’m all for creating a competitive home-field advantage, but not to the point where people feel unsafe. If I were a college athletic director, I would not let my football or basketball team play an away game in the state of Arkansas. It just seems like a potentially scary place for players, staff, and fans to go.
Alrighty, rant over. But yeah, this idea is the worst.
Cover Photo via Bleacher Report