State Seeks Ban on Violent Fans

California could become the first state in the country to adopt a tough stance on violent fans

Imagine Dodgers and Giants fans watching a baseball game in relative peace. It could happen if California State legislators have their way. A proposed bill would create a ban list that would prohibit violent fans from attending events.

The plan's author, Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Los Angeles, says the bill is designed to prevent another Bryan Stow tragedy. Stow, who is a Giants fan, was beaten outside Dodger Stadium last year. He is slowly recovering from the devastating attack. Meanwhile two suspects have been charged and will appear in court.

"Lots worth fighting for, not a jersey," Gatto tweeted on Tuesday. "My proposal would set up in CA the system England used to address hooliganism."

The bill would create the means to issue what is essentially a restraining order. The offending fan's name and picture would be sent to arenas, ticket vendors, local police agencies and posted on the internet.  

Penalties for violating the ban could include a five-year ban for the first offense and can reach as high as 25 years for repeat offenders.

If the fan sneaks into sporting events by using relatives or friends to buy tickets, and then causes a commotion, they will face a one-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine.

The bill would only cover serious felonies like robbery to assault with a deadly weapon. Opponents of the bill are concerned over the $10,000 teams need to create a ban list and the subsequent reward fund for witnesses.

If passed, California would become the first state in the country to adopt a tough stance on violent fans.

Ban lists are currently being used by overseas countries. The United Kingdom and Italy have similar measures banning hooligans at football (soccer) matches.

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