Regal Entertainment Group, the largest movie chain with over 550 theaters, started checking the bags of their patrons in response to recent movie theater assaults. There has been a recent string of violence in movie theaters:
In Lafayette, Louisiana, two people were killed and seven wounded during a showing of the comedy “Trainwreck.”
In Nashville, a man wielded a hatchet, a pellet gun and pepper spray at “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
In Aurora, Colorado James Holmes killed 12 and wounded up to 70 others in a movie theater in 2012.
Regal Cinemas explained,“Security issues have become a daily part of our lives in America… To ensure the safety of our guests and employees, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to admission. We acknowledge that this procedure can cause some inconvenience and that it is not without flaws, but hope these are minor in comparison to increased safety.”
Will their new procedure increase security at movie theaters? That is to be determined. It is a sad indication of our times that one of our our favorite leisure activities begins with a reminder of the possibility of violence. While it has been long accepted that such bag searches are necessary in contentious places such as courthouses, public venues that provide services and retail shops such as malls, sporting events or just about any public area may develop similar requirements.
Will bag searches help? A handgun can be easily concealed on a person but the expense of metal detectors and the privacy concerns around pat-downs make the detection of a handgun difficult to implement. Other comments on this new policy point toward profit margin concerns and the impact of people bringing in their own snacks. I guess I will have to start buying those $5 bags of M&M’s at Regal theaters.