IAVM Gun Education

The International Association of Venue Managers commissioned a firearms study that was published earlier this year and presented at the IAVM’s VenueConnect conference a few weeks ago. 

Photo: AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes, file
Guns fill up a trash can for recycling at the LA Memorial Sports Arena in this 2012 photo. 

Details of the report were sobering. The heavy lifting for the 2016 Firearms in the Venue study was done by VenueDataSource, a startup funded by the IAVM foundation.

VDS analyzed responses from 213 surveys of venues in the U.S. to analyze common and unique experiences among venue operators. Asked what the law required of their venue, managers in 13 states gave three different answers regarding their state’s laws, indicating some businesses do not completely understand current regulations. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said their state uses Permissive Open Carry legislation, meaning average citizens don’t need a permit to have firearms in public.

Full report available here

Virtually all (93 percent) of the venues surveyed sold alcohol, about half through an independent liquor license and the other half through a vendor. The survey revealed that 41 percent of owners who serve alcohol in open-carry states are allowing firearms onto the premises illegally. Twenty-four percent of those surveyed were unsure if their state had any new gun laws in the last five years, and of those managers that did have to deal with new legislation, half felt it was impacting operations.

A bit more than half of the venues surveyed said they could establish independent policies regarding firearms in the venue, and of those, 61 percent chose to prohibit all guns from the premises. More than 80 percent of arenas and stadiums prohibit concealed carries of firearms, often using searches, signage, wands and metal detectors, but only about 49 percent of convention centers even have concealed carry prohibitions and of those that do, almost half do not enforce the rule.

Larger venues like stadiums and arenas were also far less likely to allow those leasing their space to make independent decisions about whether to allow handguns on the premises than convention centers and complex/other venue types. Those venues that did allow independent decisions usually tended toward prohibitions.

Of the half of the respondents who felt they needed to take action related to the issue of gun control, most of the perceived necessary steps involved offering more training and upping the number of security staff and police at events. Interestingly, 34 percent of venues prohibit off-duty police officers from bringing their firearms into a building.

Ultimately, around 90 percent of owners said open carry laws had no effect on attendance or the venue’s ability to secure an event. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said they did incur additional operations costs due to gun legislation though.