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Dad brought rifle into Vadnais Heights rink, alarming youth hockey fans

Ramsey County is now considering ways to prevent similar incidents like this from happening.

A hockey dad brought a gun into a Vadnais Heights arena last month, alarming families and prompting county officials to look into ways of preventing similar incidents.

The incident happened on Sept. 26 at the TCO Sports Garden. According to the Star Tribune, a dad had a rifle hanging on his shoulder when he walked his young son into the arena for a White Bear Lake Area Hockey Association event. Police were called to the arena.

And now Ramsey County, which owns the sports garden, is reviewing the county's weapons policies to deter similar incidents from happening, county spokesperson John Siqveland told Bring Me The News in a statement. 

"Ramsey County is taking this incident very seriously. This situation caused significant alarm among users of the arena facility in Vadnais Heights – including young children and their parents – and county employees," the statement said. 

The incident is being reviewed by the Vadnais Heights City Attorney's Office, which will consider if any laws relating to carrying a firearm without a permit were violated, the statement said. When asked about the status of the case, Mark F. Gaughan of Erickson, Bell, Beckman and Quinn told BMTN, "We have no comment at this time."

County staff and attorneys also plan to meet this week to discuss ways to deter similar incidents from happening in "all public facilities owned by Ramsey County in accordance with existing state law, county ordinance and Home Rule Charter."

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The White Bear Lake Area Hockey Association is also reportedly committed to making changes to prevent these incidents. In a letter to parents, which the Star Tribune obtained, the association said it's working with county officials and is updating association policies to state it has a zero-tolerance policy for weapons at hockey events. 

Meanwhile, Minnesota Hockey Executive Director Glen Andresen told BMTN it doesn't currently have a weapons policy, but the "board will be examining this and will be looking to put together a policy on it very soon."

In his eight years as executive director of the association that oversees youth hockey in Minnesota, Andresen is not away of any other incidents like this. 

BMTN has reached out to the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office and the White Bear Lake Area Hockey Association for comment.

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