The Rutland Group

Assembly committee shelves ‘ban list’ for violent sports fans

Legislation to create a “Ban List” prohibiting violent fans from attending professional sports events anywhere in California was shelved Tuesday by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto, of Los Angeles, hopes to revive his Assembly Bill 2464 by talking with critics about potential amendments in coming days, an aide said.

Gatto’s bill was a response to senseless fan violence such as the nearly fatal beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow outside Dodger Stadium last year.

Committee concerns ranged from the planned publicizing of offenders’ names on the Internet to a provision to assess professional sports teams $10,000 initially to launch the program and to provide witness rewards.

The ban list proposed by AB 2464 would have operated much like a restraining order: Listed offenders who entered a stadium for a major-league baseball, basketball, football, hockey or soccer event would be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Offenders’ names and photos would have been published on the Internet and sent to sports arenas, police agencies and ticket vendors by the attorney general’s office, which would have maintained the list.

Banned fans could have sidestepped the law and had relatives or friends buy tickets for them, but if they subsequently caused a commotion and were discovered at the stadium, their presence could land them a one-year jail sentence and $10,000 fine.

The ban list was designed to target serious felonies ranging from robbery to assault with a deadly weapon or infliction of great bodily harm while attending a sporting event. It was not aimed at verbal harassment, beer throwing, or other non-violent rowdiness.

The state Department of Justice would have maintained the ban list under AB 2464, but judges would have determined which names it would contain in sentencing offenders for serious or violent crimes committed at professional sports events.