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Colts worry bill would prevent stadium gun ban

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill that would eliminate local gun regulations has Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay worried he wouldn't be able to ban guns from Lucas Oil Stadium during the team's games.

Sponsors of the bill moving through the state Legislature, however, said it would not prevent a sports team from setting its own attendance rules.

Irsay told reporters Thursday that the Colts rely on the city's Capital Improvement Board, the agency that owns the stadium, to enforce the team's weapons ban. Colts general counsel Dan Emerson said the bill's provisions would prevent a city agency from enforcing the ban.

"We want to make sure the CIB can do gun checks at our games," Irsay said. "It's stated on the ticket that you can't bring a firearm into the game. We want to make sure that remains, so that games remain without guns being at them."

The state Senate approved the bill in a 38-12 vote Monday, and it is pending with the House. The bill would not allow local governments to regulate firearms except to ban them from buildings housing courts. State law bans guns from school property.

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said he was surprised by the Colts' reaction and didn't believe the bill would affect the team's gun rules.

"We have a constitutional right to carry, but we don't have a constitutional right to attend a Colts game," Steele told WTHR-TV. "They sell the ticket. By me buying that ticket, I agree to their terms. If they say no guns in there, it's no gun."

Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, told WXIN-TV that the bill was meant to simplify regulations for gun owners by eliminating city ordinances that complicate the current state law.

Emerson, the Colts attorney, said he read the bill as not allowing the city's Capital Improvement Board to enforce any gun rules at Lucas Oil Stadium or the agency's other sports venues – Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers, and Victory Field, where the minor league Indianapolis Indians play baseball.

Emerson said it raises potential worries about security at Lucas Oil Stadium for next year's Super Bowl.

"There is no limitation or exception for the Super Bowl or Colts games or Pacers games or the Indians or anything," Emerson said. "It's an overreach."

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