One of the largest movie theater chains in the country, with screens in 44 states, is now checking bags and backpacks for weapons as a security measure.
Regal Entertainment Group, headquartered in Tennessee, runs cinemas under their name and that of Edwards Theatres and United Artists Theatres in nearly 600 locations and, effective immediately, they are screening for weapons at the door.
“Security issues have become a daily part of our lives in America,” reads a statement on the REG website.
“Regal Entertainment Group wants our customers and staff to feel comfortable and safe when visiting or working in our theatres. To ensure the safety of our guests and employees, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to admission,” says the updated policy.
The move comes after a summer in which a gunman with a history of mental illness opened fire in the Grand Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana during a showing of the Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck,” killing two and injuring nine before taking his own life.
Two weeks later another deranged subject attacked a Carmike theater in Antioch, Tennessee, purchasing a ticket for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and then attacking moviegoers with an airsoft gun, pepper spray, hatchet and fake bombs before being killed by responding police.
Both chains in those attacks have a no-weapons policy.
Gun control groups were quick to comment on Regal’s new policy, blaming the gun industry.
“This is the inevitable result of the gun lobby’s agenda to put more guns in more hands, in more places, no questions asked,” said former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety group through social media Thursday.
REG contends their initiative to check bags may be controversial, but is worth the blow back.
“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,” reads their policy.