The Reno Aces have not allowed guns inside Greater Nevada Field — even if the ticket-holder has a permit — since the Class AAA minor league baseball team relocated from Tucson ahead of the 2009 season, but this year the team instituted new security standards. In addition to bag checks, which previously were used, fans are subject to handheld metal detectors, a system now in place at nearly every pro sports stadium in the country.
This did not sit well with Alishia Wolcott, who had been invited by the team to sing the national anthem before a game this season. Because of the new security measure, she says she refuses to even set foot in the stadium, much less sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” informing the team via a letter posted Tuesday on Twitter:
My husband and I had tickets to the game against Fresno this past Saturday. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I am an avid baseball lover and a longtime fan of the Reno Aces. I have attended every season and always have a wonderful experience. I was thrilled to be attending a game during opening weekend.
Upon our arrival at the ballpark, we noticed one major change: You are now subjecting your guests to metal detection before entering the stadium. In years past, you have simply required a bag check and nothing more.
The goal is to keep your guests safe, as it is very clear you are searching for weapons. But by taking away their right to self-protection, all you have done is made them more vulnerable to an attack. You have fallen prey to the absurd idea that American citizens need only trust their government for protection. This is indeed a lie and a blatant disregard for our constitutional rights.
My husband and I took a long time to consider our options at Saturday’s game: Do we simply place our “protection” elsewhere and walk freely into the game — thereby giving up and giving in to this deterioration of our rights? Or do we walk away from something we both love, and take a stand against this tyrannical movement?
Wolcott said she considered sharing her thoughts about the new policy on the microphone before singing the anthem — “a sort of Colin Kaepernick style protest,” she wrote — but said she has “too much respect for the national anthem.”
People 21 years or older who meet certain requirements — including a firearms safety course — can obtain a concealed-weapons permit in Nevada, allowing them to carry handguns nearly everywhere, including private property. But private-property owners such as the Aces, who own Greater Nevada Field, are allowed to choose whether they will allow guns on their premises and can either demand that a person disarm or deny them access if they discover they are in possession of a firearm. A metal-detector search obviously will make this discovery process more thorough.
“We have joined every other ticketed sports facility in Reno as well as every Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer venue in the United States in the use of metal detection,” Eric Edelstein, president of the Aces and the Reno 1868 Football Club (a minor league soccer team that also plays in the stadium), told the Reno Gazette Journal. “The list of prohibited items at Greater Nevada Field has remained unchanged since our inception in 2009.”
The Gazette Journal says Wolcott received her concealed weapons permit earlier this year and planned to bring her Glock 43 pistol to games for protection, as she doesn’t feel safe walking alone in downtown Reno at night.
“Men look you up and down,” she said.
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