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California Proposes Banning Violent Fans From Professional Sporting Events

The last couple of years have seen highly publicized violence at California sporting events. Whether it be Bryan Stow getting beaten nearly to death after a Dodgers-Giants game or the Candlestick Park shooting following the 2011 49ers-Raiders preseason game, the violence has taken a turn for the worse. This has led to increased security and vigilance to prevent such acts in the future.

The California legislature is now attempting to step in. California Assemblyman Mike Gatto has introduced legislation that would create a ban list, preventing violent offenders from attending games for a specific time period. The ban list would apply to most professional sporting events in California. A judge could place a violent offender on this ban list for up to five years for a first offense, up to ten years for a second offense, and up to 25 years for a third offense.

The bill does have its share of holes. For example, it would cover major league baseball but not minor league baseball. It would cover professional football, basketball, hockey and soccer, but it does not appear to cover college versions of the game.

The bill will apply primarily to specifically violent offenders as opposed to run of the mill people doing stupid things like verbally harassing throwing beer at other fans. It would instead apply to serious offenses like robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and infliction of great bodily injury committed inside or outside a stadium, while tailgating, watching, entering or leaving a stadium.

The list would act as a restraining order, with violation resulting in a misdemeanor that could draw a one-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine.