Always deemed a soft-target after the terror attacks on 9/11, theaters are coming around to the idea of increased security in the wake of several theater shootings and attacks.
Regal Entertainment Group (Regal Cinemas), a major movie theater chain with 570 theaters, announced the move isn’t without its own flaws and would inconvenience customers but provide better security to all patrons.
The exact timing of the move isn’t known, but local outlets in Florida, Texas and Virginia reported customers saw the security change earlier this month. Regal has been radio silent on the security protocol, refusing to comment on the searches.
Its company website says “security issues have become a daily part of our lives in America” and backpacks and other bags are subject to searches before entering.
Other chains have been quick to issue statements regarding their own policies. AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan refused direct requests regarding AMC security protocols:
“We don’t comment on security measures publicly.”
Other chains have instituted bag checks or outright bans on backpacks. It’s hard to see why you would need a backpack heading into the theater. If anything, hand it to the manager to keep if you’re coming home from school. All you have to do is ask.
The moves by theaters are in the wake of multiple attacks on theaters across the country. Earlier this month, a man with a history of mental illness attacked a mostly empty theater with a pellet gun, pepper spray and a hatchet.
Two weeks before the Antioch, TN attack, a man killed two and wounded nine in a shooting rampage in Lafayette, LA.
Both occurred as the trial for James Holmes, the Aurora, CO shooter, wrapped up. He killed 12 and injured 70 during a shooting at the midnight screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’
Theaters have been soft targets for over a decade with multiple shootings. If people have to be inconvenienced with bag checks, so be it. Especially people carrying backpacks.
Will that be enough to deter a determined shooter? No, but sometimes all you need is a quick buffer to shut down a person who is disturbed. That’s worth an inconvenience.