Lafayette Theater Shooter Opened Fire In A “Gun Free” Zone

Crime scene Lafayette (courtesy wsoctv.com)

Southern Theatres, L.L.C. is responsible for the daily operations of The Grand Theatres and Amstar Cinemas in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas,” 2acheck.com reports. That list includes the Grand Theater 16 in Lafayette, Louisiana, where a gunman opened fire on the audience, killing three and injuring several others before taking his own life. Here’s the chain’s Conduct Policy, which prohibits firearms in all cinemas owned by Southern Theaters . . .

OUR THEATRE PROHIBITS

• Outside food or drink
• Smoking
• Possession of firearms or weapons of any kind regardless of whether openly or concealed, with or without a permit
• Disruptive or disorderly conduct
Examples: shouting, screaming, noisy or boisterous activities, loud music, throwing objects, running, skating, “Heelys”, skateboarding, rollerblading, cycling, interfering with the free flow of pedestrian traffic, and any conduct that reasonably could be construed as interfering with or interrupting another’s right to enjoy the movie-going experience
• Phone calls, texting, or emailing during the film
• Photographing, videotaping, or otherwise recording the film
• Inappropriate and offensive attire
• Violence, intimidation, or physically threatening behavior
• Unlawful conduct or activity
• Open containers of any alcoholic beverage except in areas specifically designated for the consumption of alcohol
• Loitering, lingering, delaying, and blocking storefronts and fire exits
• Littering
• Defacing, damaging, or destroying any property belonging to AmStar Cinemas or any of its employees
• Picketing, distributing handbills, soliciting, and petitioning unless with prior written consent of AmStar Cinemas management, which may be withheld within the theatre’s sole discretion.

Wikipedia tells us that “The chain has 36 locations with 433 combined screens across United States across the south. That’s a lot of victim-rich environments. [h/t RN]

comments

  1. avatar Peter says:

    What will it take to convince people that these signs do nothing?

    1. avatar Gman says:

      Au contraire mon fraire. They force otherwise law abiding citizens to either become unwilling victims or criminals.

      1. avatar William B. says:

        And for the thoughtful criminal, serve as an indicator that all law-abiding citizens have been conveniently disarmed for his robbing and/or murdering pleasure.

        1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

          ^^ This!!!

      2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        Signs don’t force people to do anything, cause, you know, they being objects and all.

      3. avatar American says:

        Frère. And yup.

      4. avatar MarkPA says:

        So, how about this for a tactic.

        Suppose we have a campaign (posters, bumper stickers, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that remind the public that:
        – a GFZ means that there will be no “good guy with a gun” to protect them if a criminal or crazy starts shooting.
        – the criminals and crazies will pick-out GFZs for their attacks.

        We refrain from:
        – advising people to carry a gun.
        – disparaging the proprietors or the Antis
        – being argumentative.
        – referring to self-defense
        – anything at all apart from the two points above.

        The campaign will have an impact only on those who haven’t thought about GFZ before. (Won’t affect the Antis. Won’t affect those who have decided to defend themselves.)

        Perhaps, for the first time, it will inspire the audience to begin to think about the GFZ signs they have passed without a thought prior to seeing our campaign. Any given member of our audience may:

        – do nothing in response. Yet, we have planted a seed in their minds that quietly grows making them really think about the meaning of a GFZ sign. (A relentless Twitter/Facebook campaign is virtually cost-less and can run for years. Lots of viewers – e.g., people watching for #-tags about new movies coming out – will incur hundreds or thousands of “impressions”.

        – become anxious whenever they see a GFZ sign. What am I getting myself into? What if?

        – begin to consider their alternatives; e.g., is there another theater (mall, etc.) that is NOT a GFZ that I might patronize?

        – shift their patronage to businesses that don’t display GFZ signs.

        I very much doubt that “chain” businesses will ever be motivated to change their policies. The decision maker is probably in NYC or Chicago and is insensitive to any customer-originated feedback.

        Conversely, “local” businesses are much closer to their customers. They will respond to both customer-originated feedback and rational conjecture about customer responses to our campaign. They call their own shots; or respond to the input from store managers. If these businesses were considering putting up a GFZ sign they will probably hesitate to proceed. Some who have such signs might take them down figuring the current loss of business has a greater impact on profit than the remote possibility of a civil suit.

        Where State law prescribes a specific format for GFZ signs some businesses might deliberately erect NON-conforming signs. The “message” is:
        – to PotG: open secret alert! “We are NOT really serious about this GFZ stuff; just carry-on”
        – to hoplophobes: “nothing has changed – we here at Chipotles are still PC”

        What the hell will the Moms Demanding Action be able to do about it? Picket the stores complaining that their GFZ signs are non-conforming? Their audience will have a hard time following the explanation; they are not interested enough in the details of the law and they don’t really care. The store managers can just “play dumb” saying that the sign was given to them by “headquarters”; they don’t know anything about “conforming”.

        Who knows; the campaign might actually work! Suppose it begins to cause a shift in behavior; a 1% drift of patronage away from GFZ to un-marked businesses would have a disproportionate effect on profits; e.g., 4% if profit is 25% of the gross. Wherever this might occur (each local market will exhibit its own reaction regardless of what happens in the rest of the country) proprietors are going to be affected.

        There is nothing the chains will be able to do to react to more nimble proprietors – other than eventually remove their signs. I.e., Suppose a prospective patron decides to see a particular film, and chooses between 2 theaters. She makes her choice based on one being a GFZ but the other not. The film is identical. The popcorn is probably identical. Both theaters are within an acceptable driving distance. There is likely very little the GFZ operator is able to do to overcome the decision based on concern for GFZ. Would re-decorating the theater change the patron’s decision?

      5. avatar JasonM says:

        You’re assuming the law-abiding actually abide by the restrictions. I walked right past a “no guns” sign when I went to go see the Avengers sequel last month. The gun on my hip didn’t disappear, and I didn’t commit any crimes.

        Texas is the only place I know of that has the sort of draconian anti-gun law that makes it illegal to carry past a “no guns” sign.

    2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      How do you know they do nothing? After all, if the no guns signs and the gun bans they represent were working, then how would their efficacy present? How would we know they’re working? We’d know by the lack of shootings in theaters, correct? Well, that’s a tricky standard of proof, knowing its presence by its absence?

      There are perhaps hundreds, maybe thousands, of theaters in the country. Days, weeks, months, even years and possibly decades pass with exactly zero shootings taking place in any of them. This includes the largest chains with no guns policies. Where does the credit belong?

      Let’s assume that shootings at theaters fall into four broad categories:

      1. Common criminal robberies.
      2. Personal vengeance targeting someone specific.
      3. Murderous spree shooting.
      4. Any other kind of ad hoc B.S. that escalated into a shooting.

      Signs won’t work against the first three, because they’re planned attacks worse than the crime of illegally carrying. What about the fourth, though?

      Take for example last year’s case in Florida where the retired cop killed a fellow moviegoer. Neither man, I’m convinced showed up with murder on his mind. It was a B.S. altercation that got out of hand. Had the gun not been present, for the retiree having abided by the no guns policy, then there wouldn’t have been a shooting. Sure, there are other ways to kill, I concede, but that specific outcome in that specific case would not have been possible, but for the gun.

      The question therefore becomes how many of those hothead B.S. shootings never happen because someone did abide by the sign and left the gun behind? I don’t know, and it’s perhaps unknowable, but we can infer their potential existence based on actual experience.

      Whether any of that is worth the trade-off against the other three categories, or against people’s natural right to carry, however, is an entirely different discussion. But the signs and policies could potentially save some lives (not necessarily positive net saved lives), taken in isolation.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        “. . . we can infer their potential existence based on actual experience.” PRECISELY! We have about 12 million CWP holders in the US now; and, how many hot-heads pulling their guns can we count from “actual experience”?

        ONE

        Got’cha, We got one. A retired cop; probably exempt from the concealed carry laws that would have stopped him had he paid attention to the GFZ sign.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Got’cha, We got one. A retired cop; probably exempt from the concealed carry laws that would have stopped him had he paid attention to the GFZ sign.”

          “Posted: Gun Free Zone’ signage has NO force of law in the GunShine state.

          As it damn well should be everywhere.

        2. avatar Richard in WA says:

          I can think of ONE other incident where two concealed carriers shot each other over a road rage incident. I think it was in Ohio, about 18 months ago-ish.

          That said, these tiny anecdotal samples mean nothing, statistically. Compare to the overall crime and murder rates for concealed carriers. Isn’t is under half the national average? Something like 1/6th that of Police officers and 1/80th that of State Governors?

          I’m just saying that if concealed carry really resulted in the supposed “Wild West shootouts” that the antis claim then it would be all over the news. The MSM would be all over demonizing CPLs if it were a real issue to be concerned about.

    3. avatar Accur81 says:

      The signs don’t do much to the “concealed means concealed” crowd. Especially those who note the lack of metal detectors.

    4. avatar Ray says:

      The Aurora Maggot PICKED the Century theater BECAUSE it was posted as a gun “free” zone. The antis sneer at you when you say it but it’s in the investigators’ reports.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        A thread elsewhere in TTAGs conveyed evidence that the physical layout of the Arora theater was mentioned by the shooter as influencing his choice. There was no mention of it being a posted GFZ as influencing his behavior.

        I’m not arguing that the lack of evidence that being a GFZ is proof that the sign attracted him. Such arguments (based on a lack of evidence) ring hollow. If an actor cites considerations A and B but not C, there is little there upon which to infer that factor C did NOT influence him. Only if the actor seems meticulous in citing considerations: A; B; ; D; E; . . . ; and Z can you advance the thesis that he seemed to enumerate everything that he could think about but ‘C’ didn’t occur to him.

        What we can say is that the GFZ sign did NOT dissuade the Arora shooter. Perhaps he overlooked it. Perhaps we need bigger signs.

        We can also say that – regardless of the shooter’s considerations – the incident DID happen in a GFZ.

        It IS reasonable to argue that the GFZ signs dissuaded one or two possible carriers from selecting that theater; carriers who could have fired-back reducing casualties.

        Where there is a bit of evidence suggesting that the Arora shooter might not have been attracted by the theater’s GFZ status we should avoid overstating our case.

  2. avatar The Patriot says:

    Those who value life can’t afford to abide by draconian laws that undermine our natural right to self-defense. Either avoid gun-free (civilian-slaughtering zones) or practice civil disobedience. As they say, it’s better to be tried by twelve than buried by six.

  3. avatar Shire-man says:

    Obvious loophole is obvious.
    While the possession of said weapon is was explicitly prohibited firing on movie patrons was not.
    He wasn’t merely possessing the firearm. He was actively using it to murder.
    The sign was powerless as it did not prohibit assaulting and murdering.
    If we are to believe the disarmament crowd (and I do wholeheartedly just as I do in unicorns and good tasting light beer) all we need to do is re-print the sign to say “assaulting, murdering or causing physical/emotional/spiritual harm of any kind to theater patrons is prohibited” then every place posting such a sign will be protected with the magical utopic forcefield.
    All this time. All these deaths. Such a simple fix.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Doesn’t that fall under “interrupting another’s right to enjoy the movie-going experience”?

      1. avatar Shire-man says:

        Perhaps not specific enough. I’m sure there is some fringe minority of people who feel being shot in the face enhances their movie going experience.

      2. Yes, Robert. The ushers should have ejected him immediatly but no one wants to do their job anymore.

      3. avatar SteveInCO says:

        Naw, because it’s not one of the annoying nags they play before the movie starts, it’s just a sign.

      4. avatar Nate from Chesterfield says:

        I think it would be covered by prohibiting “•Violence, intimidation, or physically threatening behavior
        • Unlawful conduct or activity”. But they also banned guns, so why did this happen?

  4. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    No movie theater I ever go to is a “gun free zone”. There’s at least one armed, law-abiding petson present. I don’t care what signs or policies say.

    1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Unless there are metal detectors and security, I always consider the signs what they really are, suggestions.

    2. avatar Nick Pacific says:

      In my state you would no longer be law abiding, as it is illegal to carry in any facility that requires a purchased ticket for entry.

      1. avatar SCW says:

        Who cares if it’s law abiding or not? I surely don’t.

      2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        Not unless you get caught.

      3. avatar Chip Bennett says:

        In my state, signs do not carry the force of law. When I lived in Ohio, I simply avoided posted theaters, since signs there did carry the force of law.

        Laws prohibiting carry are unconstitutional, but I’m not going to be the person to fight that battle. A movie simply isn’t important enough to force the issue. I’ll go armed, lawfully, or I won’t go at all. But mere policy and signs that carry no force of law can go screw themselves.

        1. avatar Gman says:

          Interesting. In Virginia the law reads as follows with subsection C not providing any level of punishment commonly found in other subsections. Does that mean, in VA, that there is no specific crime if carrying on private property even if so prohibited by the owner? Of course if asked to leave, failure to do so would then fall under trespass laws.
          § 18.2-308.01. Carrying a concealed handgun with a permit.

          A. The prohibition against carrying a concealed handgun in clause (i) of subsection A of § 18.2-308 shall not apply to a person who has a valid concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to this article. The person issued the permit shall have such permit on his person at all times during which he is carrying a concealed handgun and shall display the permit and a photo identification issued by a government agency of the Commonwealth or by the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. State Department (passport) upon demand by a law-enforcement officer. A person to whom a nonresident permit is issued shall have such permit on his person at all times when he is carrying a concealed handgun in the Commonwealth and shall display the permit on demand by a law-enforcement officer. A person whose permit is extended due to deployment shall carry with him and display, upon request of a law-enforcement officer, a copy of the documents required by subsection B of § 18.2-308.010.

          B. Failure to display the permit and a photo identification upon demand by a law-enforcement officer shall be punishable by a $25 civil penalty, which shall be paid into the state treasury. Any attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which the alleged violation occurred may bring an action to recover the civil penalty. A court may waive such penalty upon presentation to the court of a valid permit and a government-issued photo identification. Any law-enforcement officer may issue a summons for the civil violation of failure to display the concealed handgun permit and photo identification upon demand.

          C. The granting of a concealed handgun permit pursuant to this article shall not thereby authorize the possession of any handgun or other weapon on property or in places where such possession is otherwise prohibited by law or is prohibited by the owner of private property.

      4. avatar daniel sebastian says:

        Which state?

    3. I will give up my right to bear when everyone else does.

  5. avatar Silver says:

    Concealed is concealed.

    And I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I say that I’m a law abiding citizen, I mean that I abide by the only laws that matter, the Constitution. This nation was founded upon the concept that the rights of man trump the laws of man.

    1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

      My main issue with the term “law-abiding” is that when the rules are changed, that person is no longer “law-abiding”. I like the comment above re: Constitutional laws.

      But, by all means we PotG should oppose laws that disarm us.

  6. avatar Bob109 says:

    Gun free zone and a killer with a criminal past…if that does not convince people gun control does not work, what will convince them.

    1. avatar Silver says:

      The only morons left who think gun control works are blind, feeble minded zealots whose entire worldview would shatter if they were to accept the truth. It’s not about truth for them, it’s about protecting their fantasy, no matter how many people die because of it.

  7. avatar Matt in FL says:

    No matter how armed you are, my understanding is that nobody would have stopped the first two deaths. From what I read, he stood up and immediately popped the two folks sitting directly in front of him. Sometimes when it’s your time, it’s just your time.

    1. avatar James says:

      This is unfortunately true. The killer usually has the element of surprise, especially in a setting where one’s main focus is intended to be on the movie you’re there to see.

      The fallacy of the gun free zone is obvious. One disturb, mentally ill, or just pissed off/vengeful individual renders it mute.

      I prefer public places not engage in this illusion of safety because there is no safety, ever. You’re always subject to the dangers of many individuals with various ill intention and rationalizations. Allowing concealed carry may not stop this things, but it can give the innocents a chance. It’s not a panacea, but it doesn’t make things worse than the illusion of the gun free zone.

  8. avatar Del says:

    How about “regulating” training? Theater management and staff are required to tackle the shooter or face civil lawsuits after disarming their guests?

    Theaters close down. Personnel refuse to take bullets. Left-Wing Hollyweird goes broke.

    It’s from the Obummer Playbook.

  9. avatar Carlos Urias says:

    Mr Obama,

    I awoke to the news of the most recent shooting and then heard your comment about it. You mentioned something about gun control and how we need more. This is no surprise as you have carried on about this topic for 6 years. Trying to come up with new ways of making it tougher for law abiding citizens to obtain firearms and doing nothing to promote legal concealed carry.

    A couple of thoughts come to mind. My life and the life of every US citizen is just as important as yours, right? Yet when you go to the movies, you have an armed escort just to make sure you make it in and out and home safe. Why can’t we US citizens have a national concealed carry permit to protect ourselves and others in the same manner that you are protected. Our lives matter too and it seems that the concept of Gun Free zones (schools, theaters, churches, recruitment offices, etc) are a magnet for crazy people to commit open murder.

    But this isn’t a new issue. The impulse of gun control is all you know. Gun shooing occurs, more gun control. This ideology doesn’t ever seem to work, does it? Case in point, Chicago. How many shooting occur there over the course of the year? I bet that if you make that a model city for gun control the killing won’t stop. I know you say that socio-economic factors are at play. Well then, what about DC? There’s gun control there and lots of murders too. Is it the same thing, socio-economic factor? Well what about all of the other shootings? Is it the same thing?

    I think your maximizing the difference to mask the problem with the form of gun control policies that you are trying to force. And the problem with the shootings these days is that bad guys are armed more so than good guys. You disagree? Then drop your secret service and face the nation like we all do. But I bet you won’t because either your too afraid to do so or you feel that you are more important. Am I correct?

    You can’t ever get rid of guns in this country as it’s written into our constitution. I know you want to leave your mark and change it, but we aren’t going to let you so you can forget about that. Why not show us how smart you are and enact a national concealed carry movement where U.S. Citizens can take classes, and pass all the background checks that it takes to buy a handgun and allow us to carry everywhere we go in the U.S.

    CCW carriers commit less crimes than others simply because they want to uphold law and order too. Our peace officers can’t be at all places at once. We the citizens are the first line of defense against domestic enemies – terrorists and crazy bastards that are terrorists as well.

    Give us gun control that makes sense – National CCW for all legal gun owners. Simply said, if I can buy a handgun, let me carry it so that I may protect myself and others in the same manner that you are protected, because my life is as important as yours Mr. Obama.

  10. avatar Dale Smith says:

    Until people start taking these gun-free businesses to court, for not taking enough steps to protect them, there will continue to be shootings. Either remove your “unarmed victims found here” sign, or provide armed security for every screen.

    1. avatar Galtha58 says:

      They would have to provide more than armed security. Metal detectors, x-ray scans, pat downs, etc.. And I doubt even that would stop any weapon from coming into the theater. Probably not practical unless they were able to raise the price of the tickets by quite a bit. As they are already competing with online streaming, Redbox, Netflix, etc., I doubt that will work. So, I stay out of the theaters most of the time. Wait until the movie goes out for rent at Redbox or is on Netfix or Vudu and rent it. I can stay armed in my own home and feel much safer than being disarmed in a room where one nut with a weapon is allowed to enter. BTW, IF they were able to remove ALL guns that would not guarantee that nobody would be hurt of killed as that is only one method of harming or killing another person. There are many others that may not be detected even with machines or pat downs.

      1. avatar Dale Smith says:

        You and I both know that nothing will stop a determined attacker. And these companies that promote the feel-good gun free environments only understand their bottom line, so talk in a language the understand. Either you pay for full time security in every business that bans guns, or remove restrictions from people protecting themselves, or get sued every time there is a robbery or shooting in their gun-free business.

    2. avatar Gman says:

      That would be nice, but you can bet MDA and their ilk are already knocking on the victims door to adjoin them in a civil action against the gun seller, manufacturer, and anyone else involved.

  11. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    Well there’s your problem! They should have also banned shooting people with your illegally carried gun… Duhhhh!

  12. avatar Intrepyd says:

    I think the argument around gun-free zones is a little more complicated. While a GFZ theater will be no safer against determined premeditated attacks (Aurora), it may be safer against hot-headed crimes of passion committed by lawful carriers (Florida theater popcorn incident).

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      If the “hot-head” incident were a “thing” then in a nation of 317 million population we should see a pattern emerging. One incident every few months. Where’s the pattern?

      The popcorn incident was quite extraordinary. The hot-head was a retired cop. I presume he carried during his entire career without shooting someone (at least not without justification). So, at an advanced age, he looses it. There you go; that’s 1; ONE! Count-it; 0, 1.

      Conversely, let’s consider the DGUs. While they are harder to count, the lowest numbers are in tens-of-thousands per year up to hundreds-of-thousands. The highest umbers are 1 or 2 million per year.

      So, let’s now take a ratio of the hot-heads to the DGUs. . . . You do the math and figure out what the ratios are.

      And then, there is still the discussion of the GFZ signs on criminals and crazies. How’s that working out for y’all?

  13. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    As a rule of thumb, I carry everywhere unless there is a metal detector or guy doing patdowns. Concealed is concealed.

    1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

      Oh yeah! Right on, bro.

  14. avatar Sian says:

    When are we going to have a serious talk about closing the Defenseless Victim Zone Loophole?

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    That corporate policy is insane! I’m telling you right now that I’m not going to any theater where I can’t ride my bicycle or skateboard.

  16. avatar Stratajema says:

    Unarmed patrons because of a posted sign saying no guns allowed? Would those be the same patrons that ignore the posted speed limit signs or pedestrian crossing signs, everyday?

    Is it true if a sign was posted to “Walk off this cliff!” that 1/2 of Americans would dutifully comply?

  17. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I don’t think there will be a lot of traction with a 59 year old(white) drifter with a criminal record. And FWIW we never go to evening movies-always an early matinee with a smaller crowd(plus we’re cheap). Honestly I don’t recall seeing GFZ on my local theater-but I’m always armed with something…

  18. avatar Dave357 says:

    Was this particular theater actually posted? Otherwise, a corporate policy is just a web page no one ever looks at.

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