THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Major sports venues in Columbus plan to continue their bans on weapons, even after state legislators approved a bill yesterday to allow concealed weapons in establishments that serve alcohol.
Arenas and stadiums will continue restrictions on guns and knives under a current state law that permits privately owned or leased property to prohibit weapons.
The new bill allows concealed-carry permit-holders to bring firearms into facilities with Class D liquor licenses, which cover on-premise alcohol consumption. Permit-holders may not drink alcohol while in possession of a weapon.
"Our policies as they pertain to weapons will not change; weapons of any type are prohibited," said Karen Davis, director of communications for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who play National Hockey League home games in Nationwide Arena.
"We don't anticipate any issues with our policies," Davis said regarding potential boycotts from concealed-carry proponents.
The Columbus Crew's website similarly states no weapons may be brought into Crew Stadium.
Senate Bill 17 will not affect Ohio's university sports venues, which currently forbid weapons - concealed or otherwise - inside because of an existing state law. Property owned or leased by universities and colleges are among numerous locations where carrying weapons is illegal. Another bill, however, would repeal that prohibition.
During Ohio State University athletic events, beer and wine are served in suites and on the Huntington Club level of the Schottenstein Center. During non-athletic events, alcohol may be served throughout that facility.
No alcohol is permitted in Ohio Stadium.
The new law's reach does include Columbus Motor Speedway as an "open-air arena" that serves alcohol. The racetrack's policy regarding the issue has not been finalized, but a source said the speedway expects to allow concealed-carry licensees to bring their weapons onto track property.