Woman refuses to sing national anthem at minor league game after realizing stadium has gun ban

A Nevada woman says she’s declining to sing the national anthem before a Reno Aces baseball game because she cannot bring her gun to the game.

Alishia Wolcott penned an open letter in the Reno Gazette-Journal detailing why she won’t accept an invitation to sing the anthem before a game later this year. Guns have been banned at Greater Nevada Fields since the Reno Aces started playing there in 2009 according to the team’s president.

Walcott’s reasoning stems from her belief in the second amendment and the different security practices the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate is using at the stadium’s entry points. She said she noticed them while attempting to attend Saturday’s game with her husband.

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.

A Nevada woman is refusing to sing the national anthem at a Reno Aces game because she can’t bring her gun into the stadium. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)
A Nevada woman is refusing to sing the national anthem at a Reno Aces game because she can’t bring her gun into the stadium. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

Walcott’s column was tweeted by the National Rifle Association’s Twitter account on Thursday afternoon. She goes on to say in the open letter that her inability to carry a gun to the ballpark is a denial of her constitutional rights and that she refused to attend the game after realizing her gun would be discovered by stadium security.

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.

It’s not breaking news for anyone who has attended a major sporting event in recent years that gun bans at sporting events are commonplace. Banning guns at private events is not a denial of a constitutional right. The land Greater Nevada Field sits on is owned by an LLC in the name of the owners of the franchise.

If you went to a friend’s house and that friend said your gun wasn’t allowed on the property, you wouldn’t claim you were protected by the second amendment, would you? In that case, along with the case of a sports franchise, the government is not banning you from bringing your gun onto the premises.

Gun bans at stadiums is a pretty common-sense idea too. After a law passed in the spring of 2017 that would allow concealed-carry at University of Arkansas sporting events, the state’s legislature quickly amended the bill a week later to keep a weapons ban in place at Razorbacks games. 

We’re not sure if Walcott is realizing for the first time that guns have been banned at the Aces’ home stadium since it was built or if she’s actually objecting to the different security procedures the team is employing for the 2018 season. Had she flouted the ban in recent years? It’s a reasonable question given she’s directing her unhappiness towards the screening procedures.

She also said she considered a “Colin Kaepernick style” protest by accepting the invitation. She would then take the microphone and say why she wouldn’t sing the anthem.

That type of protest would not be similar to what Kaepernick has done in the slightest. Kaepernick has knelt during the national anthem as a form of silent protest. Speaking up and refusing to do something — remember, Kaepernick started kneeling as a compromise in reverence for the anthem — is far from a silent and peaceful statement.

I must also tell you, I spent much time thinking about how I would decline this opportunity. I heavily considered the idea of sharing my thoughts in the microphone at the game (a sort of Colin Kaepernick style protest) — telling the fans why it is I am refusing to sing. But I have too much respect for the national anthem and the time dedicated for it. I just cannot be the one to perform it in this venue.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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