Dear Mr. Ebert, the Colorado theater was a ‘gun free zone’
Jumping on the gun-ban band wagon and to take political advantage of the murders in Colorado, film critic Roger Ebert immediately ran to his keyboard to decry our “insane” gun laws in an Op Ed in the New York Times. His goal was to invalidate concealed carry laws by noting that no one in the theater shot back at the murderer in black. But, Ebert misses an important point. The Cinemark theater chain has a “gun-free zone” policy.
In the NYT, Ebert decried America for its gun laws (my bold).
That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.
Of course, if Ebert had bothered to check before trying to use this murderous crime for his own anti-Second Amendment purposes, he may have found that no one could have shot back because the theater chain does not allow its customers to carry guns in its theaters.
As it happens, the Century 16 theaters at 14300 E. Alameda Ave in Aurora, Colorado are owned by Cinemark Century Theaters, headquartered in Plano, Texas, and for several years this chain movie theater has told customers they are not welcome to bring their firearms into theaters.
Back in 2009 an Alaska-based member of a gun owner’s message board going by the handle SubNine reported that he tried to enter a Cinemark owned theater with his open carry weapon but was told he was not allowed to enter the premisses armed because the chain had a no-weapons policy. It was a “gun-free zone” he was told by the manager.
A year before the above post another message board started a similar conversation. In 2008 the Open Carry forums also noted Cinemark’s “gun-free zone” policy. One message board member even communicated via email with a Dan Meyers at the corporate offices of Cinemark. That corporate official confirmed the restriction and added that only police officers could carry their concealed weapons into Cinemark theaters. He also asked gun owners not to bother complaining to them about the policy.
So, as Ebert scoffs that no one returned fire at this theater and assumed that it went to invalidate concealed carry laws, he didn’t bother to find out if anyone was or even could be armed in that theater. Turns out, they couldn’t but Ebert tried to use this crime and its tragic consequences for his own political purposes anyway.