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Off-duty police officers can carry guns at Vikings games, judge rules

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Off-duty police officers will be allowed to carry handguns to Minnesota Vikings games at TCF Bank Stadium, a judge has ruled.

The Associated Press reports that Hennepin County Judge Ivy Bernhardson on Friday confirmed the NFL's ban on guns for all but working officers and security personnel would be overturned.

The Minneapolis police union and the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association had sued after the ban was announced, with a hearing in August finding that Minnesota state law requires the NFL to allow officers to carry handguns.

The same law limits the ability of private establishments to ban the carrying of firearms by off-duty officers, and Judge Bernhardson ruled Friday that this applies to organizations such as the university, the Vikings and the NFL.

The Star Tribune reports that the judge's decision will remain in place until the team moves to the new Vikings Stadium in 2016.

Police union head Lt. John Delmonico said he was pleased with the decision, but the University of Minnesota is pondering whether to appeal the decision, the newspaper notes.

The two police groups filed the lawsuit last February, claiming it's important for public safety that off-duty police officers are armed so they can intervene in any criminal action inside the stadium.

"Minnesota’s police officers need to carry their weapons inside stadiums used by the NFL, and the public will be safer because of it,” Lt. Delmonico said at the time.

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