DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (localmemphis.com) – People are fired up about a weapons policy at the Landers Center. Currently, the venue says anyone not working security at a sporting game needs an empty holster.
However, an elected official is among those who disagree when that person is an off-duty officer.
The Landers Center was very clear on its firearms policy during Memphis Hustle games, like the one Wednesday when an officer attempted to enter with his weapon.
“He was told he either had to hand over his weapon, which no police officer is going to do, or he had to leave the event,” said Mississippi State Rep. Dana Criswell, who represents District 6.
He did leave the Memphis Hustle game, and the Landers Center says the officer worked at Northwest Community College.
“He’s trained to use a weapon. That’s part of his job,” said a father, who took his kids to Friday’s Hustle game. “So, he’s going to keep someone like me safe.”
State Rep. Criswell shared a post online, captioned “no police allowed” with and “x” across the Landers Center building – grabbing people’s attention.
The venue’s executive director tells me they are contractually bound to restrict weapons.
“We have a private entity, the Memphis Hustle the Memphis Grizzlies, the NBA, that has a LLC agreement with us and they state in there no firearms,” explained Landers Center Exec. Director Todd Mastry.
Criswell says it’s a step too far when that applies to an officer and violates federal law.
“When it extends so far as to a police officer in uniform, whosoever policy it is whether its Landers whether who they’re renting it to, I believe the people of DeSoto County have just said that’s enough,” Criswell said.
DeSoto County became the first in Mississippi Tuesday to become a “second amendment safe haven” after a vote Tuesday. It’s essentially the same as “sanctuaries” sweeping other counties in the United States.
It says county funds won’t be used to restrict the constitutional right to bear arms and will oppose any state and federal restrictions.
“Don’t be fooled that this is what it’s about,” Mastry said.
He stressed if you come to public county events, like graduations, weapons are allowed inside.