Maybe It’s Time to Re-Think What Makes a Theater ‘Family Friendly’

Reader Brian Jacobsen recalls a recent conversation with a theater owner:

A couple of weeks ago I sent you guys an email after being asked to leave a local theatre here in gun friendly Indiana. Ironically enough, during that conversation (with the corporate suit in Tennessee), after he insulted gun owners repeatedly and genially (quoting stats that sounded a lot like Brady campaign talking points), I asked him what exactly I was supposed to do if confronted with an armed madman? He replied that the cinema chain spent millions on security. I assured him that I believed they did but—-

no matter how much they spent, could he guarantee that I and my wife wouldn’t be confronted by a crazy person with a gun? Well no, he agreed, but guns would render the theatre no longer ‘family friendly.’

I wonder which is less family friendly? Me, a responsible citizen carrying a lawful firearm, or a lunatic shooting seventy people?

I have to wonder if he had cause to recall our conversation recently.  I know I did.


  1. avatar GS650G says:

    A theater that is truly family friendly would not show the trashy, violent, insane movies that promote violence.

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:


    2. avatar I_Like_Pie says:


    3. avatar Other Derek says:

      So since movies promote violence, do spoons now promote fatness?

        1. avatar Other Derek says:

          So how can it be one and not the other?
          Hollywood bears as much culpability for the violence in our society as fast food restaurants do for the obesity epidemic.

    4. avatar Aharon says:

      For some people violent films do promote violence literally. People who are emotionally unbalanced, messed up on drugs, angry, under terrible stress etc can potentially be further motivated by violent films or simply any films that push their hot buttons into taking violent actions.

      1. avatar Other Derek says:

        So we should ban them then? We already have that silly rating system in place.
        Should we also ban fat people from eating in fast food restaurants?

        1. avatar Merits says:

          No they shouldn’t be banned, but the lack of a ban does not make them family-friendly either. I would hope you wouldn’t show your 6 year-old R rated material.
          As for the ratings, I’d like to know if I’m going to view rape and slaughter before I do so, so I can exercise my choice not to. You like the freedom to choose to partake or not, correct?

        2. avatar Aharon says:

          No, why were you assuming I was suggesting to ban violent films? I’m also not supporting a ban on guns in theaters. I was just pointing out some facts or truths about people and types of films.

        3. avatar Other Derek says:

          It’s so hard to find out a synopsis of what will be in the movie now that we have the internet.
          Before my 7 year-old child sees a movie I know what we’re going to go see by doing research.
          No way is my 7-year old going to see a movie with adult themes, nudity, or gore. All of which can be found out using google.
          How other people choose to raise their children is none of my business.

  2. avatar Totenglocke says:

    I think Brian should contact that same manager again and ask him if he’s changed his mind.

    1. avatar Frodo says:

      The manager of the theater has nothing to do with corporate policy unless it is a mom and pop theater. Call the headquarters and ask to speak with upper management or the CEO and ask them if they changed their mind.

    2. avatar ready,fire,aim says:


  3. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

    I always hear this same refrain. “If you want to stop gun violence, you need more guns.”. It is like borrowing your way out of a debt problem.

    1. avatar Matthew says:


    2. avatar Jim Barr says:

      Nice try. This has absolutely nothing to do with a NEED for more guns. It’s all about giving law abiding citizens the legal opportunity to legally and responsibly carry a gun should they so choose.

      I applied for a CPW a little over a month ago, and when I receive it, will I immediately start carrying? No. Why? Primarily because I do not yet have a gun I am comfortable carrying. Will I ever carry? I don’t know. Then why have a CWP? Because if gives me the legal authority to carry where it is legal to do so. And more importantly, it prompted me to look at gun ownership and safety very seriously.

      Any criminal can get a gun if he wants, and gun control laws will do absolutely nothing to prevent that. But as a law-abiding citizen, while it is my constitutional right to own a gun, it is also my moral responsibility to learn how to effectively and safely use and handle that responsibly.

    3. avatar tdiinva says:

      Rather bad analogy. Since a law abiding citizen presents the same threat whether he is armed or not more guns in the hands of the law abiding has no negative effect on public safety. It may, in some cases, deter violence or stop a spree shooter before he kills a large number of people. There is no downside.

      With debt, the more you have relative to your income the less well off you will be. There is no upside.

      1. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

        More guns have no negative effect? Have you ever heard about 20 thousand gun accidents? Have you ever heard about anyone buying a gun with a good intent and later on deciding to use it for murder?

        Let’s face it, the NRA has blood on their hands. Now that there are a few million assault rifles in the country, the NRA wants you to think they make you safer.

        I get so sick of this whole attitude that guns are a force for good and that anyone who disagrees is trying to sell you into slavery.

        This board frustrates me to no end sometimes. Guns are not good or evil, they are just tools. Because they can be used to kill people easily and quickly from a distance, they should be regulated.

        Not banned, regulated. As in the 2nd Amendment.

    4. avatar Chaz says:

      “Now they’re tryin’ to take my guns away
      And that would be just fine
      If you take ‘em away from the criminals first
      I’d gladly give you mine”
      – Charlie Daniels Band: A Few More Rednecks

    5. avatar Chas says:

      Yawn – another hit and run.

    6. avatar Hal says:


    7. avatar Pascal says:

      @Low Budget Dave

      If you are a criminal and you want to go in and rob, rape or kill, will you go where you absolutly know there will be armed resistance or will you go where you know nobody will have a gun and all the power it sitting with you are your gun?

      1. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

        That is the same tired argument I hear everywhere. The fact of the matter is that we wouldn’t need to defend ourselves from gun nuts if there were a few common sense regulations in place.

        Do all the murderers travel to Britain, so they can be sure to face unarmed gentlemen?

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          Like they have in Norway?

    8. avatar Silver says:

      Come on, that’s the best you got? This guy’s way less fun than mikey. “low budget” indeed.

    9. avatar CarlosT says:

      Just like debt problems, it matters who has what. Even if the economy as a whole has too much debt, it’s still a good idea to lend to solvent people for productive purposes.

      Likewise, even if there are problems with gun violence in society, it makes sense for law abiding citizens to carry guns for self-defense. In fact, I’d argue it makes more sense than ever.

      1. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

        Guns for self defense are one thing. What is the innocent reason for owning a 100-round magazine?

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          Happy fun time at the range without spending all that time reloading.

      2. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

        Honestly, when this guy was buying all that gear, was the justiication that he needed it for self-defense?

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          Thousands, if not millions of people buy the exact same gear every year for defensive, competitive, and recreational purposes, harming exactly zero innocent people in the process. Just because one guy did it for illegitimate purposes doesn’t mean everyone else should pay the price.

          People have rented Ryder trucks and bought fertilizer and fuel oil at the same time before, too. They weren’t all Timothy McVeigh. Sometimes they were just farmers helping people move.

  4. avatar Age Quod Agis says:

    It boils down to the individual. At a glance, Holmes seems “law abiding”. When I took my CCW course, it was full of people who were “law abiding”, but when going through role playing of DGU scenarios, you could tell some of them would get in trouble down the road with their lack of judgement and common sense. Detroit Lions DB Aaron Berry just got cut because after his driver nearly backed over some guys trying to cross the street, he (Berry) pulls his pistol (which he had a permit to carry) and aims his laser at them. Here’s a “law-abiding” millionaire doing something that stupid.

  5. avatar rsh2k1 says:

    It’s very simple, actually, to me.

    If you’re going to disarm your patrons, then pay to have a cop with a gun around. I’ve been to enough events where the organizers pay to have police present. Theatres, shopping malls, college campuses, etc. can all do the same. “Millions in security” is worthless crap unless there’s a guy with a gun on the scene.

    Oh, and “on the scene” doesn’t mean nearby. It means at the same place where your now-disarmed patrons are.

    1. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

      you mean not at the consession stand drinking coffee and flurting with the cashier?

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “… then pay to have a cop with a gun around.”

      That isn’t good enough for me. There are countless ways that a criminal could still effect mayhem even if an armed police officer were present. More importantly, it is my fundamental, inalienable right to be able to defend myself and my family. No one should ever ask much less force me to give up that right. Anyone who asks or tries to force me to give up that right is a tyrant — whether they are a neighbor, a business manager, a corporation, a bureaucrat, or a government agency.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        A cop with a gun around? You mean like Detroit cop Isaac Parrish who recently killed Adaisha Miller while getting a BJ birthday dance? I’ll pass.

        1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:


        2. avatar Greg in Allston says:

          Ralph, into the end zone for the scorrrrre!!

  6. avatar virtualjohn says:

    Our response should be as loud as the gun-grabbers and the only rational reasonable response to this tragedy is “End Gun Free Zones, Now.”

  7. avatar Paul says:

    I would like to know HOW they knew you were carrying a firearm. CONCEALED MEANS CONCEALED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Were you trying to make a point? If so; stop doing it with my right! When I get stupid enough to announce to the world that I am carrying a firearm, I will do so in a way that does not infringe on your right.

    Stupid people just aren’t on the left of this issue. Stupidity strikes once every nano second. So repeat after me,” I promise not to get stupid with someone elses right to carry a firearm.” I would like to believe that all the stupid firearms owners will get a brain, but I also know that is not going to happen.

    The mantra seems to be, “I’m a guy, I watch movies made in Hollywood, and I know everything that there is to know about guns! DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    1. avatar Irock350 says:

      He wasn’t concealed, he was open carrying in the theater as he said he had done several times before the incident. It helps to read before you flame.

  8. avatar Silver says:

    You can’t fix stupid. Gun supporters and gun grabbers aren’t two sides of some random and preference-based debate, like whether chocolate is better than vanilla. Gun-grabbers’ hatred of guns isn’t based on any logic, fact, sanity, or even taste…it’s an outlet to inner insecurity, mental immaturity, and emotional damage. At best, they’re simply dim-witted pawns of popular stereotypes.

    You’d see this theater shooting and logically think, “Well, now these people will see the light.” But they won’t, because mentally and emotionally, they’re not adults, and they’re not seeking truth. Their worldview depends on their fantasyland lies. They’ll see his shooting and think, “Now we need to make gun-free zones gun-free-er!”

    1. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

      Every few months, we’ll see another mass shooting.   It’s the price we pay for having gun nuts in charge of gun control, or the lack thereof.  

      The last 9 or 10 didn’t happen because of a lack of guns, they happened because it is so easy to get hold of devices that spray bullets. 

      1. avatar Common Sense says:

        Drunk drivers kill a heck of a lot more people than all of the shooting sprees combined and yet I don’t see alcohol or cars being outlawed.

        And, the last time I checked, guns aren’t able to shoot themselves. So the gun isn’t the problem. The problem here are the crazy people that use alcohol, cars, gun, or any thing else to harm other people.

        If James Holmes didn’t have access to guns, he would’ve used explosives to kill people. If he didn’t have explosives, I’m sure he would’ve found other ways to hurt or kill people just the same. The problem here are the James Holmes’ out there that are just waiting to find their victims.

        And that’s exactly what he found in the Aurora Cinemark theater — victims. Because it was a gun-free zone and no one was able to legally defend themselves against his assault. Am I saying it would have been a different story if there was one or more legally carrying citizens in the audience? Perhaps. But we’ll never know.

        All I know is there are lots of stories about crimes that are prevented specifically because of legally purchased firearms that are handled by responsible gun owners that are never ever reported because the crimes never happened because they were diffused by a simple fact: A gun was present in the hands of a law abiding citizen.

  9. avatar AWW says:

    Violent crimes cannot be eliminated. We can have the opportunity to defend ourselves against them when we legally carry.

  10. avatar Brian Jacobsen says:


    Im sorry if it wasn’t clear but the person I’m referencing was the high corporate muckety-muck at their world headquarters. He was where the buck stopped. I had spoken with the local guy, who was pretty darn anti-gun in general (which is pretty surprising here in Indy where I almost never have any problems open carrying), and he directed me to contact their head office in Tennessee. So the conversation I’m recounting was with the highest echelon that would talk to the public.

  11. avatar Age Quod Agis says:

    Until they put metal detectors in the theatres, I’ll continue to CC regardless of whether its restricted or not. I’m already sneaking in $1.00 sodas, $1.00 boxes of candy, and ziploc bags of microwave popcorn, might as well bring the pistol too….

  12. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    Interesting that on their corporate website, the theater chain does not even
    have a press release expressing any remorse for the lives lost. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

  13. avatar Mark says:

    Netflix at home with my 1911.

  14. avatar Greg in Allston says:

    As I’ve said before, let your conscience be your guide. First off, if you’re not welcome, don’t go there. They don’t deserve your business, your hard earned cash, the time of day or your deference. That said, if they’re the only game in town and you simply can’t resist your need for a fleeting bit of entertainment, well, don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t be a jerk, don’t blow your cover. Be polite and courteous, be professional, be discrete; but have a plan to kill everyone you meet if necessary.

    Do they have metal detectors, x-ray/millimeter-wave scanners, TSA goons, or any other means of determining whether you’re packing or not? No? Then do what you feel is right and take the full burden of the risk. If yes, then take a pass and find somewhere else to fulfill your needs. You, alone, have to determine the value of your liberty and the measure of the risks that you may face.

    Avoid crowds as best as you can. In this day and age, if it’s a “happenin”, like, you know, a totally awesome, transcendent, life altering experience that all of the cool kids will be hangin’ with, well, then it’s a risk that you need to measure very carefully. America, because of our freedoms, heritage and disposition, is a target rich environment. Act rationally and accordingly. Don’t become a shut in or a sheep. Never give them an inch. Be prepared.

  15. avatar Chad says:

    So, let me get this straight. You were asked to leave the theater. You left out the reason why. So, I am assuming that either you were open carrying or you somehow flashed your gun and someone saw it.

    So, cue the shitstorm on the open carry debate.

    The best way to carry for self defense is concealed. If simply for the reasons of tactical surprise in an ambush.

    Open carry, out west, NO BIG DEAL, it’s the American West. In Indiana and Michigan, I think it’s more of an IN YOUR FACE, political statement.

    I agree with Rob Pincus, you shouldn’t be carrying a gun for political purposes.

    In regards to carrying in a movie theater. I was just at one last week. In Missisippi, the NO GUNS SIGN does NOT have the Weight of LAW. I walk right past the sign.

    Concealed, means Concealed and I have NEVER been MADE!

    That eliminates having to have meetings with theater owners or other business owners. I just want to enjoy the show for 2 hours. Not get banned from a business because I brought the gun issue to their attention.

    Sit down, shut up and watch the freaking show!

  16. avatar GoodToGo says:

    Sigmund Freud Quote
    “A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.”

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