Chelsea Schilling is a commentary editor and staff writer for WND and a proud U.S. Army veteran. She has also worked as a news producer at USA Radio Network and as a news reporter for the Sacramento Union.More ↓Less ↑
Gun advocates say the movie theater where a Colorado gunman opened fire Friday, killing 12 and wounded 58, has a strict policy against firearms on its premises – even for patrons with concealed handgun permits.
Cinemark Holdings Inc. owns 459 theaters and 5,181 screens in the U.S. and Latin America – including the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., scene of the mass shooting.
Dudley Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, told ABC News the Aurora Century 16 movie theater’s policy prohibits firearm carry.
Since 2006, some pro-gun bloggers have complained about their own experiences with Cinemark gun policies.
On the Defensive Carry blog, one Alaskan moviegoer posting under the name “SubNine” claimed Cinemark managers asked him to put his firearm in his vehicle if he wanted to see a movie. According to his post, the managers showed him a cardboard sign near the ticket counter that said, “No firearms allowed.”
Another man in Utah posted in a 2008 forum on OpenCarry.org that he had received a call from Dan Myers of Cinermark’s corporate office.
“[H]e informed me that Cinemark’s official policy is that ONLY [law enforcement officers] CAN CARRY INTO THEIR THEATERS. NO CONCEALED WEAPONS, NO [open carry],” he wrote. “He asked me that we not send e-mails to tell them their policy sucks. Okay, well I don’t think that’s possible.”
“I told him that I would mind putting it in my car and that as I was handicapped, my gun is my crutch for self-defense and that I had openly carried there many times before,” the poster identified as “Nepawolf” wrote. “He said alright, that’s fine. To make sure I understood his last statement, I asked if I had to put my gun in my car, to which he replied that I didn’t and told us to go on in.”
However, “Nepawolf” said the manager entered the theater with two police officers, who asked him to go outside.
“Officer #1 informs me that firearms are prohibited in the theater and as such I’m going to have put it in my vehicle,” he said. “Officer #1 said that they have a ‘no firearms’ sign out front and as such I have to leave if I won’t put it in my car. …
“Officer #1 shows us the sign at the bottom of a list of prohibitions, about knee height on the far left side (Which, of course, you wouldn’t see when you’re looking straight up to find your movie time or when you’re paying for your ticket as the counter is in the way then). Officer #1 tells us that since they have the sign they can ask us to leave and if they didn’t they wouldn’t be able to. He also said that Mr. Halt can’t give us special permission as it is corporate policy. Mr. Halt gives us our movie ticket refund (no money back for the almost $5 drinks though) and we leave.
“Also, at no time were we asked for ID, nor did they run the ‘registration’ on either one of the OCed guns, nor were we searched or disarmed. The bottom line of the whole situation is that we were allowed entrance, had to talk to the manager and were given the OK, and then escorted out in front of a packed theater like criminals and were not given a full refund.”
In 2006, bloggers reported Cinemark theater in Merriam, Kan., posted a sign banning concealed carry.
On March 28, 2012, a Pennsylvania blogger identified as “CapGun” wrote about his local Cinemark theater: “I was very disappointed and surprised to see a number of small signs one below the other off to the side of the ticket booths at about 2&1/2 feet off the floor>>> No smoking, no outside food allowed etc and the one that bothered me… Firearms prohibited.”
In the wake of the Colorado tragedy, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert asked today, “Well it does make me wonder, you know with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying that could’ve stopped this guy more quickly?”
That’s exactly how it happened in the same town just three months ago – when a man gunned down a pastor’s mother at the New Destiny Center church in Aurora, Colo.
The shooter, Kiarron Parker, had been released early from prison after serving time for assaulting two officers.
An off-duty Denver police officer – who had been carrying a concealed firearm during the church service – shot and killed the gunman.