A concealed carry permit holder was arrested Wednesday night at a Tampa Bay Lightening game after it was discovered that he had brought a firearm into the arena.
After confiscating his handgun and removing 27-year-old Lucas Cassidy from the game, police charged him with a second degree misdemeanor for bringing his sidearm into a place that prohibits firearms.
Police told local news affiliate 10 News that Cassidy, a St. Petersburg resident, would have been slapped with a felony charge were he not a permit holder.
The firearm was discovered by a fellow fan who witnessed Cassidy dropping the gun in the bathroom. A spokesperson for the Lightning said his team was investigating the matter to see how Cassidy got through security with the concealed weapon.
As a reminder to Florida residents, here are the gun-free zones across the state courtesy of usacarry.com:
- Any place of nuisance as defined in s. 823.05
- Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station
- Any detention facility, prison, or jail; any courthouse
- Any courtroom
- Any polling place
- Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district
- Any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof
- Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms
- Any school administration building
- Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption
- Any elementary or secondary school facility
- Any area technical center
- Any college or university facility
- Inside the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal laws
The incident caught the attention of Ladd Everitt from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence who chided the fan for carrying in a crowded environment.
“Scary,” said Ladd in an email to GunsAmerica. “I’m glad no one was hurt.”
“The image of this guy working his way through the bathroom line, dropping the gun, and fumbling to pick it up in that type of crowded environment says it all,” Everitt continued. “As a big hockey fan myself, I understand what playoff games are like. Lots of beer, passions running high, and frequent altercations between fans of opposing teams. It’s certainly no place to be playing cowboy.”
The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right. No doubt about it. As is the right to self defense. However, in this particular case, the property rights of the owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning trump one’s Second Amendment rights. If Mr. Cassidy cannot abide by the rules set forth by the Lightning ownership, then he shouldn’t be attending games. Plain and simple.
Personally, there are a lot of places I choose not to frequent because of their anti-gun policies. Movie theaters, for example. I can’t remember the last time I went to go see a movie in a theater. Even before the shooting in Aurora, I never liked the idea of being seated in a crowded, dark room with a bunch of strangers. Perhaps I’m overly cautious or maybe even a bit paranoid, but that’s just one place I don’t feel comfortable going, particularly unarmed.
What about you, how do you see this situation? Are there places or events you forgo because they are gun-free zones?