Key Arena used to try and bar licensed CPL holders from carrying on the premises. After they were educated about the relevant RCWs, and exposed in the Seattle PI for also barring off duty LEOs from carrying, the policy was reversed. The arena may have signs posted saying no weapons allowed, they don't mean a thing.
Key Arena is a publicly owned and run facility and RCW 9.41.290 (State preemption) applies.
There may on occasion be events held in Key Arena that would bar CPL holders from carrying, high schools holding graduation ceremonies, etc under RCW9.41.280 (Possessing dangerous weapons on school facilities — Penalty — Exceptions)
(1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:
Armed police being barred from games
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
By LEWIS KAMB
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
In the wake of last year's terrorist attacks, Americans widely acknowledged that sacrificing some personal liberties in the name of homeland security was a necessary evil.
But now, even some law enforcement officers say that things may be going too far.
Several off-duty police officers and sheriff's deputies recently have been barred from KeyArena, Husky Stadium and the Stadium Exhibition Center -- all public, big-event venues in Seattle -- after security personnel learned the officers were carrying guns.
Blame heightened security at sporting events and exhibition shows for the denied access, as new precautionary measures have brought mandatory inspections of handbags and itemized restrictions on everything from glass bottles to weapons.
"Immediately after 9/11, we put together a very strict policy regarding guns and other dangerous weapons," said Pete Pedersen, a spokesman for First & Goal Inc., the Paul Allen firm that manages the Stadium Exhibition Center. "I just don't think the policy took off-duty police officers into consideration."
To some officers -- particularly those in the Seattle Police Department, which generally requires off-duty cops to carry their guns when within city limits -- not only does the well-meaning crackdown make no sense, it's simply illegal.
They point to the state firearms law in the Revised Code of Washington, which exempts law enforcement and corrections officers from any restrictions on carrying guns in most public facilities, including stadiums and convention centers.
"It's not only ludicrous, it seems counterintuitive to disarm trained police officers after 9-11 -- especially in places with a high concentration of people," said Seattle Police Officers' Guild President Ken Saucier, who recently was barred from a motorcycle show at the Stadium Exhibition Center for carrying his gun.
The King County Sheriff's Office also has contacted the state's Public Stadium Authority, Allen's public ownership partner in the Stadium Exhibition Center and adjacent Seahawks stadium, which is now under construction.
Meanwhile, Seattle police have been negotiating with the University of Washington, the Seattle Center and First & Goal to resolve the matter.
"No one is arguing the need for increased security," said Seattle Assistant Chief Jim Pugel, the department's point man on the issue. "But this is putting officers in a tough position. They've been told to be on heightened alert and to protect the public. Now they're being told to do it in a way they aren't trained to."
Officials for at least two of the venues apparently are ready to agree to that logic -- and to follow state law.
Both Pedersen, the First & Goal spokesman, and Perry Cooper, spokesman for the Seattle Center, which manages city-owned KeyArena, said officials for their respective venues are now working out a way to allow off-duty officers access to events at their sites -- guns and all.
"It's going to be a non-issue very soon," Pedersen said.
But that's apparently not the case at Husky Stadium.
"If it happened today, we'd still enforce it the way we have been," said Annette Spicuzza, an assistant chief for the University of Washington Police Department.
Following Sept. 11, the UW started requiring off-duty officers to secure guns in their cars, an on-site locker or at the university police station, Spicuzza said.
That doesn't fly with Saucier, who was recently told he should leave his gun in his car if he wanted to enter the Stadium Exhibition Center.
"I'm supposed to lock my gun in the trunk of my car, but what happens when someone breaks in and steals it? I'm going to be held liable," he said.
Saucier added that he knows of an officer from another department who agreed to store her gun in a venue's lockers, only to be given back the wrong gun.
UW officials are aware of the state firearms law, but say they're following a Washington Administrative Code rule that says "possession or use of firearms on the university campus" is prohibited, except for authorized purposes or unless prior written approval is obtained from the university.
"It's very unclear," Spicuzza said of the apparent conflict between the law and administrative code.
While UW police have asked the university's Board of Regents to review both codes, the policy barring guns from Husky Stadium will stand, she said.
But according to a spokeswoman for the state's Administrative Office of the Courts, state law trumps the administrative code.
"The Washington Administrative Code is not substantive law," spokeswoman Wendy Ferrell said. "It essentially serves to set out procedures for agencies and their activities, as provided for in statute."
The problem appears to be limited to the Seattle area, according to an informal survey of police agencies in the region.
While officials are working to resolve the matter, at least five Seattle officers and three female sheriff's deputies have been barred from various venues.
"Why it seems to be mostly women is that (venues aren't) frisking people, they're checking bags and purses," said Sheriff's Office spokesman John Urquhart. "A lot of female officers keep their guns in their purses."
King County does not require deputies to carry guns while off-duty. The Seattle Police policy says that "Officers are expected at all times to take appropriate action to protect people and property."
Exceptions are allowed for off-duty cops engaged in physical activity, such as playing sports, or attending a social function where alcohol is consumed.
Mike Edwards, past president of the Seattle officers' guild, noted that suspects or ex-cons whom officers have encountered in the past sometimes recognize police in public, even in civilian clothes. And sometimes, he said, they make it a point to make a beef with those officers.
That happened to Officer Antonio Terry, who was fatally shot while off-duty in 1994, he said. Terry had stopped to assist two stranded motorists, but was shot and killed by Quentin Ervin and Eric Smiley.
Officials maintain that Ervin and Smiley shot Terry after they recognized him as an officer. While the motive was never proven in court, the men were convicted of murder.
"There are good reasons why off-duty officers are allowed to carry guns," Edwards said. "And believe me, that's one of them."