ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Gun owners headed for Busch Stadium may soon no longer have to leave their firearms in the car.
Starting in mid-July, Paddy O`s Bar next to Busch Stadium is going to allow a specially outfitted armored truck to use its overflow back parking lot to provide lawful gun owners a place to lock up any firearms they want to carry with them between the parking lots and the stadium.
It is an idea born of tragedy.
Following the shooting of Chris Sanna last year as he was leaving a Cardinals game, Justin Hulsey, a National Guard veteran from Herculaneum, had an idea; to create a mobile gun locker, sort of like a food truck, to park at events where guns are not allowed inside the venue.
Hulsey calls it Mobile Safe Storage.
He is outfitting a 22 foot-long step van with armor and security cameras and has hired security guards to surround it when it is parked in public.
Hulsey`s plan is to begin by parking it at Paddy O`s on game days, offering visitors a chance to lock up their guns, or any other valuables they either can't or don`t want to bring into the stadium or leave in their car.
He believes being able to carry a gun to the stadium will give visitors a better sense of security, while also cutting down on the number of guns getting into the hands of criminals.
'If we can just stop one firearm from being stolen out of a car and used by a criminal, we succeeded,' Hulsey said. 'This isn`t about making millions, it`s about making a difference and we are passionate about it,' he said.
It is an idea supported by former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch.
'The real idea is so the criminals don`t know who is going to have a firearm and who is not,' Fitch said. 'They are pretty comfortable right now if they see someone leaving Busch Stadium at 10:30 at night and they have a Cardinals shirt on they are not going to be armed," he said.
Hulsey plans a soft launch on July 15 as the Cardinals start a ten-day home stand. But a spokesperson for the Mayor`s office says the company has no business license and that running a business from Paddy O`s parking lot is not allowed under the bar`s current occupancy permit, and would be, 'illegal.'
Hulsey however says he has been speaking with the city and believes the way he has set things up with the bar; he has done everything he needs to do to begin doing business legally.
Hulsey says anyone who checks a gun will have to sign a waiver which covers a lot of things including giving his company the right to refuse to return a firearm to anyone who appears to be intoxicated.
Neither the Cardinals nor the Police Department are commenting about this.
But Chris Sanna tells FOX 2 News he thinks it`s a good idea, although he also said he`s not sure having a gun would have done him much good the night he was mugged because he was shot first and then robbed.
Hulsey said the price for using Mobile Safe Storage will be $10 per item or $15 for those who pay by credit card.