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News Brief

Images of Sniper Rifle at Super Bowl Spark Debate

by Dylan Polk   |  February 8th, 2012 93

Super Bowl sniper 1In this day and age, should anyone be surprised that there’s armed law enforcement at major sporting events?

Apparently, some people are. Several photos recently surfaced of a sniper’s nest high above the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis before Super Bowl XLVI, showing a custom Remington M700 perched on an Alamo Four Star DCLW tripod.

According to Business Insider, the gun was unloaded, and according to U.S. Tactical Supply Inc.’s Facebook page, where the photos originated, it remained unloaded for the duration of the game; only binoculars were used for surveillance during the game, and the rifle was only there to display the tripod’s locking system for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

It didn’t take long for the debate to begin. Immediately, anti-gunners and tinfoil hat enthusiasts were all over the supposed ethical dilemma of an officer with a high-powered rifle — which they assumed was loaded — and pointing it at an unarmed crowd — another assumed fact, considering the pictures were taken before the stadium had opened. Some were even brazen enough to guess the caliber, which proved to be pretty amusing — some hilariously guessed .50-cal, but Eric Poole, editor-in-chief of InterMedia Outdoors’ SIP division more accurately placed it as a .308 with an XLR Industries Evolution rifle chassis.

But these are facts the anti-gun crowd chooses to ignore, along with the possibility of a terrorist attack — and sadly, we all know how that kind of ignorance works out. Over at the sports blog Deadspin, writer Barry Petchesky took a more sensible approach:

It’s standard operating procedure to have an invisible law enforcement presence at any high-profile event, let alone one with the attendance and attention the Super Bowl receives. And remember, there are all kinds of politicians and other assorted rich people around. You never know what could happen, though the imagination conjures up increasingly insane and horrifying scenarios … It’s just never a bad idea to have a sniper rifle around.

We couldn’t agree more. To some, particularly the anti-gun crowd, this may appear as absolute insanity and an infringement on the rights of unarmed citizens. However, we have a feeling that crowd would be singing a different tune if America’s biggest game became a scene of carnage. That’s a risk we absolutely cannot take.

  • jerry

    Just in case.

  • Peter

    I see no problem with it. Law enforcement should be ready for anything. As a BSA Shooting Sports Director and NRA Instructor, I make it my business to teach responsible use as well as marksmanship.

  • Tom

    The last two sentences sum it up perfectly. If something were to happen, anti gunner idiots woud be bitching about the lack of such precautionary measures.

  • Shtf Firearms

    Same people crying about it would be the ones bad mouthing law enforcement if something happeded and they DIDN'T have it in place! For those that think this is a first, you NEED a big dose of REALITY!

  • KevinO

    An extra eye over such a high profile event is not a bad thing… kowing it's LEO up there. I'm a every day Joe, a regular sport shooter and an all In NRA member, I can be more relaxed at such events.

  • jim

    I don't understand why it wasn't loaded.

    • Rudogg4Guns

      That was my first thought, but… Two words my friend and fellow gunner, Accidental Discharge. If you think the anti-gunites (a name i just coined by the way, feel free to use it and spread it around) over reacted to the mere site of a sniper rifle pointed at the crowd, which they did. Just imagine the feeding frenzy they would have had if a shot were to accidentally go off.

  • Certilus

    Damned if yo do and damned if ya don't. It falls back to the very thought that everyone thinks when they pick up a gun for protection, " I sure hope I don't need this today, but if I do need it, it's not gonna be at home locked in a drawer." Law enforcement did something right for a change, they were prepared, they were ready, and thenlike everyone else,simply sat back and enjoyed the game. Bravo!

  • Brian

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin

    • MadDog2047

      Amen!! But who do we have now in Gov't of Ben's caliber? Just a bunch of greedy pacifists in my opinion.

  • Arthur L. Brown Sr.

    I'm thinking THIS ONE was for SHOW, and three others were loaded and manned around the perimeter in case of!

    • airborne

      Think so, too

  • David

    Your right Auther, that one rifle was not alone.

  • David

    Sorry..Arthur is correct.

  • Ryan Jones

    there's 4 directions of a compass i'll let you figure out how many there were at the super bowl

    • Tom Terrific


  • Nick

    Really the people who don't like guns have probobly never shot one and were raised by some psycho parent that said they were terrible. And come on if you really think someone would take a picture of that and put it on facebook you must be an idiot

  • none

    I heard the police where even carrying handguns, whats this world coming to.

    • Linda

      Yes…………the absolute horror of it all! My God a bad guy might get shot?

  • shooter

    They have been at super bowl events since 04 that I know of. It's no big deal. I'm glad they are there.

  • -bp

    i have always thought that snipers belonged at major sporting events. i have always envisioned myself lying in the woods in a ghillie suit with my .177 pellet rifle shooting the tee out from under someone's golf ball. it would also be interesting to watch someone with a goose gun blowing someone's tee-shot out of the air. just a thought.

    • Linda

      Good way to get yourself killed playing around now days like that if you did? Yes we need serious snipers in today's World at big events. Just the reality of it.

  • Bill K

    What is wrong with It? Authorities have armed personal in many places i.e. court house, parades, policital events. Nothing new.

  • James

    Thinking that Law Enforcement would have a .50 cal. at a sporting event shows exactly how much credibility the anti gun section of the population has. They ought at least to hate something they know about. And what is wrong with a sniping rifle at the super bowl. Whoever it is entrusted to would obviously know how to use it, so it is no danger to anyone except the terrorists who thankfully weren't there.

  • Jay Leonard

    Welcome to the world of a Obama United States…..Pussifaction invites Terrorism!!

  • tommyee

    They are there to protect us! Thank you.

  • Peter Lake

    And why was there no sniper picking off the ball in mid-air when Manning threw his 4th quarter bomb?
    What kind of crappy "Patriot Act" do we have that won't help out the real Patriots in their hour of need?

    An UNLOADED rifle?
    Colonel Cooper always used to warn us about unloaded guns.
    Said people were always being shot by "unloaded" guns.
    "Useless," he would always call unloaded guns. "Useless."

    Next Super Bowl that the Patriots are in I want loaded rifles standing by to make sure the right team wins.
    Is that too much to ask?

    (Writing this from just outside Boston……)

    • MadDog2047

      Ha Ha, Nice. You made me laugh! Good sense of humor Pete! I agree that the Pats should have won the game!! As they say, Next Year!

    • Antonio

      I guess the sniper wagered on the Under, otherwise s/he may have been tempted to "pick off" a few passes (not that the Giants needed any help with that).

      Regards from Jersey — great football town, lousy gun law state.

    • Dwight Hill

      Well Pete , they did help the " Real " patriots , Manning and crew . But , I must say , it was the best game for a few years ! Right down the last play , you can't ask for any more than that !

  • Steve

    We've used teams as overwatch for years at major sporting event, political rallies, diplomatic visits. Whether terrorists or the mentally-imbalanced lone wolf, these events provide widespread fame and visibility to individuals and causes. I would rather have well-positioned sniper teams than officers with poor visibility at ground level trying to stop a bomber or armed assailant.

    • Draeger

      amen to that. after two decades in LE, i can say I'd rather have a sniper perched somewhere above a crowd watching my back than 5 of us mingling at eye level.

  • Ken Kjer

    As a retired cop, I see no problem. One hell of a deterrent. No different than parking an empty squad car on the roadside to slow down speeders. It probably should have been loaded though. An empty gun is just a club.

    • DHurdle

      You are right – it should have been loaded. I have a feeling by gametime it WAS loaded, and it had a trained marksman at the stock and 1 or more spotters with their scopes alongside. Remember, though – if the Liberal reporter had been there when the real warriors were in place, there would have been NO photo, and maybe a shot fired…. LOL

  • Pete

    We have had fans killing fans at playoff games in Oakland and San Francisco. There is violence at way too many sporting events.

    None of this was necessary when I was a kid as people were civilized. It is what it is which means,if anything all the whiners need to "think" about why the 2nd amendment exists and why people have to have the right to protect themselves,their children,their land and their Freedom.

    It is incredible that anyone would question the need to have people on alert after 9/11 and the numerous attempts to "kill" Americans.

    The only thing that concerns me is that Obama is Commander In Chief and those we need fear most are running this country!!

    • shooter348

      So you're thinking that the sniper should shoot people getting into fights?

  • Dale Edward

    At most large public sporting events, law enforcement will have snipers positioned in key areas. During the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, there were several sniper teams in place. Snipers provide surgical precision as far as being able to take out terrorists or armed suspects quickly, safely, and with extreme accuracy.

    Imagine at the Super Bowl if an armed individual in the stands started randomly shooting at people. With such large crowds present, it may take law enforcement several minutes on foot to even reach the suspect if at all considering the unpredictable obstacle that the crowds reaction will pose. On the other hand, a sniper can identify the suspect and safely take him or her out in a matter of seconds, saving more lives. The snipers provide an important tool for law enforcement in being able to neutralize deadly threats quickly from a distance with extreme accuracy.

    • shooter348

      Doesn't everyone have to go through metal detectors and get searched at these events? If so how are they getting a gun in? And if they are getting a gun in why do I have to go through the charade of getting searched?

      • steve

        You aren't seriously asking that question are you?

        If someone desperately needs to make something happen-especially at a large event- they will have people in place to facilitate that. Think man! Thankfully the police are! They plan for situations that have actually happened in other countries

      • Ryan Smith

        If there is a will, there is a way. Thousands of support personnel going into and out of the stadium constantly. How about a pistol surriptitiously planted in a shipment containing other metal. Could be done. High explosives or bomb-making materials, also.

    • Dwight Hill

      I don't think so . A sniper might , and that's a BIG MIGHT , have a good shot , but , with the crowd in the way , he won't have a good shot . Not even if he is the best shot in the world , taking out an innocent would turn the crowd on the cops . Even he got the bad guy .

      You talk about " terrorist " . Let me put that in a difference way . Hussein is bring the troops home , with the job not done . He quit looking for the real " terrorists " , then came up with the " Patriot Act " , which , in most says that " Any American " who has a gun , can be called a terrorist . He is now looking for American people . Doesn't that make you think about calling yourself , a terrorist ? And , if he gets his way with the U.N. Small Arms ban , guess who he comes looking for ?

    • rambo 180

      you are so right, l respect that

  • MadDog2047

    Since 911, this country has changed. Now, we need to be more prepared for the unexpected. I agree with this type of preparation, "JUST IN CASE", as some others have said. This type of preparation like a CCW, is like an Insurance Policy, you hope that U never have to use it but glad that you have it. As for the people that are/were upset, they would be the 1st ones to bring a legal suit if something happened and their loved ones were injured or worse! Then they would claim that the authorities were not prepared.

  • Craig

    To tell you the truth I really don't want to know if their there, why show our cards. Terrorists's heads exploding on national TV would be the only information we would ever need to see.

  • DHurdle


    An exclusive NBC report by Matt Liar has documented that not only was there a Police presence, but there were also literally dozens of EMT's and Firemen on-site, even though no one had reported a fire or injury.

    What kind of Nazi state are we living in ??

    I wonder how many Libertards would be offended to find out that these observation / sniper stations were actually a part of the design of the new stadium from the onset ?

    • EX Troy Bus driver

      The Nazi state is Illinois

      • Yeeeep!

        I hate Illinois Nazis (steps on gas peddle).

  • STA Marine

    I think its an excellent way to reduce any collateral damage that may occur in the event a suspect has to be "taken down". A sniper could place the shot exactly where it needs to be placed without injuring or killing innocent bystanders! But what do I know I was only a S.T.A. Marine for 9 and a half yrs.

  • mark

    uhhhhhmmmm could anybody tell me how to get permission to shoot targets from a bad ass place like that?!!!

  • Kainan

    only pussies need guns!

    • steve

      You are a complete moron. Would you suggest punching a suicide bomber? Idiot.

  • Terry

    Yikes! A 50 cal. for antipersonnel. Where does a 700+ grain slug go after it takes out the bad guy? Collateral damage!!?? A 308 should be plenty. Still would need to be careful of the backstop.

    • Russ D.

      Read it again. It's not a .50 cal. It's a .30 caliber… Not that it really makes a difference. Both ways, the perp is dead…

  • Mikegia

    Did any think of thanking the police for being prepared .

  • Joe Callahan

    I think that I would rather not be there. I do worry about all the police guns. They do miss and the result could be awful. Thank goodnesss there hasn't been a need for all that firepower. For the record I'm very progun!

    • Dwight Hill

      Yeah , they don't hit what they are aiming , the police I mean . I can't recall where or when it happened , but they police took out the bad guy , and also hit a couple of innocents , and they fired something like 70 shots , and only hit the bad guy 4 times . That's not good percentage .


    Thank GOD For The Snipers .That Are Doing The Job ,That No One Can Do Better!! Or Maybe We Should Just Forget About The DATE THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE HAVE TO LIVE FOREVER REMEMBER ( 911 ) Or Do We Just Forget All Of Them That Lost There Lives,And There Families. God Bless All That Fight For Us And Keep Us Safe And Free.

    • Dwight Hill

      Well autoloder , the troops keep us safe and free . The police , not so much . Since Hussein came into power , he change the way we live , it's not so free any more . And the police are on his side . They have broken more rights than before 10 years . He has turned us into a " Police State " . No ,we should not forgot 9/11 , but we should not forgot our rights either .

      • No Donut!

        I agree! I do not feel any safer because some cop is pointing a rifle at me.
        The cops are the terrorists now!!!

  • Buddytr

    I worked the Jacksonville jaguars game since 2002 season and I promise u this… There is atleast two snipers at every game. And the super bowl in 2005 at Jacksonville had 8. I support having snipers at events, I have talked to these guys many times and looked thru there binoculars and learned how they search and describe perps. It's really neat.

    • Dwight Hill

      Really , they can describe a " perp ' , but yet they can't at point out one perp at an airport . They are even frisking little kids at airports . It's not right . In Israel , they train their airport personal , to look at a person and if they are shaking , can't tell them where they are going , and sweating or not . They don't have no people running an x-ray machine , ( they don't have any ) and they live where terrorists live . Image that .

  • Daniel Fess

    If there weren't a few law enforcement Snipers at such an event then Indianapolis and Indiana State made a critical mistake by assuming there was no need for it. Fortunately they didn't.

    Danno F

  • oldmanr

    Probably the best seat in the house

  • Mr. Bill

    That's in case some knothead decides to rip the popcorn vendor off,….BLAM. Sit ur ass down!

  • Snug

    Look at it another way………it's a pretty good way to guarantee the outcome follows the script.
    "Bread and Circus" the way the Roman Emperors ruled during the decline of Rome.

  • Adam P

    As long as they are allowed to take out those drunk, A-holes that sit next to me.

  • MJMike

    More info from Indiana Gun Owners

  • Larry Arnold

    [To some, particularly the anti-gun crowd, this may appear as absolute insanity and an infringement on the rights of unarmed citizens.]

    Unarmed citizens have no rights. They gave them away along with the ability to defend them.

  • Stephen

    Sometimes I really think the media is out to kill this country, first they show pics of war raveged countrys we are in conflict with, then they show stuff like this, just what the anti- gunners want to see. The thing that really pisses me off is they stop showing everyhting people have done to this country and our people really, have they forgot??? I sure DiD NOT!!!! Just another fight for the NRA and LAW gunning Americans.

  • P. McCann

    You should have seen the security at the Super Bowl in '02 after 9/11. High security is now the new norm. Sad but true.

  • Woodrow Call

    Any of those anti gun idiots ever crack a Tom Clancy book or see the movie Black Sunday? Clancy also had a book where a commercial aircraft crashed in a suicide attack on the capitol building. Sure it all sounds far fetched, but an ounce of prevention…..

    • Newt

      Youbetcha, that's what I live my life by: fictional books and movies. That and TV shows and comic books.

  • 7×57

    Sad to say it is necessary as we now live in a world gone completely mad with terrorists. Such things would have seemed impossible back in the 1950's, but not so today.

  • shooter348

    With regards to those comments that since 911 we have to accept these sort of changes, you people are the ones that have allowed the terrorist to win. Our nation has drastically changed in the last decade and it hasn't been for the better. I would much rather take my chances that none of my fellow travelers are out to blow something up than to subject my family to the joke that we currently call airline security. I also don't care to be distracted with knowing that I'm downrange when I only came to watch the first down.

  • MMcQuown

    Another byproduct of the age we live in. Anybody remember those movies about snipers at large sporting events? And they were the bad guys! Nobody loves a cop until they need one!

  • logan

    And when yoyu need one (cop) they show up too late.

  • Dale

    Hats off to the police, and it is nice to know if there was problem it only takes a second to install a clip.

  • steve

    As long as there are people out there who would harm innocent citizens, protection is necessary- whether by Law Enforcement or Concealed Carry Citizens.

  • DRZ

    Armed Law Enforcement definately needs to be at all sporting events or any other large gatherings. In this day and time there are too many nuts out there wanting to kill everyone just because. Better a skilled marksman and one quick shot to stop trouble than using a handgun to spray and pray in the crowd.

  • No Donut!

    Yeah, ya never know what might happen,…like a jack booted cop touching off a round into the crowd….

  • Indy Mac

    Being a former Deputy Sheriff in Indy I applaud the department for preparation in case of terrorist attacks/idiots with unknown agenda's (which are real). Most that are with SWAT are very well trained and are NOT jack booted cops. The psychological profiling necessary to be a part of the team is mandatory. Salute to preparation in protecting and serving our guest from all over the country. M700 a great choice (my choice) and I hope many were strategically placed all over the stadium for many advantage points. This old Vietnam Vet thanks you. :o)

  • Rudogg4Guns

    Sniper rifle great idea it wouldn't be to hard to sneak in one of them micro pistols. I know cuz i recently snuck in a tactical flashlight to a pro football game. Glad i did considering the power outage in San Francisco this year and that i was at another old stadium, San Diego's Qualcom. Not a charger fan by the way.

  • shooter348

    I don't care to have searches and groping be a part of my entertainment nor travel and I will not voluntarily go somewhere where I am forced to disarm and be positioned downrange of the rifle squads. Few people in this forum have any understanding of "the land of the free and the home of the brave" and because so many don't care or don't understand we no longer fit that motto. Sniper towers and searches are something that belong in maximum security prisons not amongst families out to watch a ball game. It should also be noted that murders rapes and contraband are common in maximum security prisons. That alone should prove to you that your incessant search for security will not provide you your goal.

  • airborne

    I think you're missing the point

  • E Zach Lee Wright

    In the 1980's as a college student I worked security for a major NFL team. We worked games, concerts, special events, and non-event days. I left their employment when I finished college but my roommate had gotten on and worked there for over ten years. At some point after I left he became armed security for them. Most of the police officers who were on duty during the games were motorcycle officers who worked traffic duty getting people into and after the game, out of the stadium parking lots. A couple of uniform cops would stay in the security office in the stadium monitoring cctv and radios from us. They were there to arrest anyone who we decided deserved more than ejection from the property. We had no snipers or anything similar. Most of us did not have sidearms, cuffs, or weapons of any kind.

    I would be surprised if there were not provisions made for LEO snipers at a Superbowl level event in this post 9-11 world. The greatest threats to an event like this however come from outside the stadium. Suitcase nukes, car bombs, dirty bombs, plane attacks, any type of suicide ready attack, and a sniper shooting into the stadium or shooing people in the parking lot just before or after a game are just some of the headaches DHS, and major event security has on their plates.

  • jake

    "cops" can have firearms around thoundands of people but yet i step outside with my 22lr to put it in the car people freak the hell out saying i'm pointing it at them and shooting it. so when the cops get there before i'm about to leave i laugh at the reason why they were called show them that my rifle is is in the back seat unloaded and the mag is in my pocket.

  • Steve

    I worked the 2005 MLB All Star game in Detroit and they had snipers on the roofs of buildings all around the ballpark. ATF, FBI, Detroit PD… Initials were everywhere…

    • Acronym Sam

      Initials were everywhere…

      I like that.

  • Safety check

    Perhaps I am mis-reading G&A's article but to imply that assuming it was loaded was a poor assumption shows a lack of knowlege on the author's part. It is a gun, it is loaded, period, end of discussion. It should always be treated as such. It does not matter if you "know" it to be unloaded, it is loaded. Too many stories exist of guns "known" to be unloaded causing death.

    Do not get me wrong, I have no issue with well armed law enforcement doing their job, but their job includes proper gun handling. Unless there is a threat they intend to shoot that weapon better not be trained in my direction, thank you very much.

  • phil

    stupidity gone wild…….

  • Duray

    I've never understood the use of the term "high powered rifle" used as a pejorative (especially by anti-hunters). Would people feel better about a weak, underpowered rifle? Is it ok to shoot into a crowd with a "low-powered" 5.56, but not a "high powered" rifle?

  • Daeglan

    I have a couple problems with this scenario.
    1. They violated a couple of the 4 rules. Every gun is loaded. And do not point a gun at something you are unwilling to destroy.

    2. I do not see many situations in this scenario where a sniper is the solution. Propper security of the perimeter is the solution. We are talking about a venue where the access is able to be controlled.

    • Billy’s

      I agree with the rule of 4 you mentioned but good defense is layered and there are many variables to account for and mitigation stratigies. I would assume the sniper would be the answer potentially for a few of them

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