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There’s an old saying: any publicity is good publicity. This, though, might be just a tad over the line. A movie theater in Jefferson City, Missouri paid a man to walk into a showing of the new Iron Man 3 movie wearing “tactical gear” and carrying what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle. The man was part of a group of actors who were at the movie theater (pictured above via Reddit). But in a dark room and with memories of Aurora still fairly fresh in people’s minds, things could have gotten a little hairy. Which they did, when the police were called, reporting an active shooting incident. Oh, and just FYI, Missouri is a “shall issue” state that honors permits from almost every other state in the union. The local ABC news station has more . . .

During the opening weekend of the latest ‘Iron Man’ movie, a man walked into the theater in full tactical gear and carrying a fake gun.

Jefferson City police and witnesses, however, are not pleased with the stunt and are questioning the theater’s logic after recent shootings in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn.

John Molock is a retired Army war veteran and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He told ABC 17 News this most recent trip to the movies triggered memories he never wanted to relive.

“We had just finished watching Iron Man 3,” said Morlock. “We’re just getting into the car when I spotted a man in full assault gear, carrying what appeared to be a modified M-4 and 9 mm on his side.”

Morlock did not call police, but several other moviegoers did.

“We received a series of 911 calls stating that a man dressed in all black and body armor and a rifle was walking into Capital 8 Theaters,” said Capt. Doug Shoemaker.

Officers thought they were responding to an active shooter investigation.

“Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen,” said Shoemaker. “There’s really no good that can come of this.”

Instead, it was all part of a publicity stunt for the movie opening. The man in tactical gear was an actor carrying a fake gun.

Capital 8 Theaters manager Bob Wilkins told ABC 17 News this was planned months in advance and only a few people were upset, but hundreds were entertained.

The local news station is playing up the “PR stunt to drive sales” angle here, but they do have a point. What would you do if, in the middle of a superhero-themed movie, some guy walks in and looks, for all intents and purposes, to be about to shoot the place up?

Apparently this theater makes a habit of paying actors to dress up as characters from the films, which they apparently think adds something to the whole movie experience. Something that can’t be had by downloading the flicks and watching them at home. And while that may be the case, a quick warning beforehand might have been in order. Especially given the circumstances.

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    • Yeah… he’s lucky I wasn’t in the theater — I’d have probably shot him, just as anyone on an airplane who pulls out a box cutter will probably get trampled and beat to death.

      • Yeah, if I was there and didn’t immediately see the orange tips on those muzzles–and maybe even if I did (bad guys have painted muzzles of real guns orange)– it would have been a very bad day for that “actor”.

        • Aurora theater was a gun free zone (the only such theater in the area). MO is crawling with concealed carry holders.

        • And open carry as well. I’ve seen 3 OC people come through my store in the last few months and keep in mind I work at a big-box retail store just outside the third-largest city in Missouri. Nope, doesn’t skeer me in the least.

    • You know, the fact that he ISN’T dead is pretty good proof that the antis are wrong when they portray concealed weapons holders as crazies just waiting to snap and shoot someone.

      • So, am I officially the first one to theorize that this was a set up? It was a ploy to bait a ccw holder into creating the kind of incident that the antis are always saying will happen every time a state proposes constitutional carry by the unwashed masses. The actors were actually Navy SEALS or CIA operatives who were clad in threat level IV A ballistic armor, and they were instructed to move out and draw fire as a way of generating an incident that would give the President and his minions all the (rhetorical) ammunition they needed to FINALLY strip us of our 2nd amendment rights. Who’s with me?

        • Barstow,
          Really, Seals and CIA operatives, maybe the guy with the eye patch (can’t see what shape he’s in) but a set up. I think your tin foil hat slipped over your eyes, because that group just came from McDonalds not Seal training!

        • See, that’s just what they want you to think, so that’s why they got the FAT SEALS and CIA operatives for this mission. No one ever thinks the fat guy is the SEAL or the spook, and that’s just the way they want it…plus a lot of that bulk is probably the aforementioned IV A body armor.

    • Forget the actors, this theater manager needs to be prosecuted for public endangerment, instigating a riot, something. This is a f*cking outrage. Provoking people with a phony perception of lethal threat in a ccw state is worse than yelling fire in a crowded theater. Seems they weren’t thinking “about the children” in this event, or was it to traumatize people, especially the young regarding guns? Political chicanery is reaching light speed. As the Benghazi coverup hearings gain mo, watch for off the wall events that make no scene but play into the central narrative to advance the agenda, diverting attention en mass away from said coverup. The manager of this theater should be in jail. Were there any press there to cover the “reaction”? And I find it sheer BS that only a few people were pissed off .

  1. Wow that actor needs to buy a lottery ticket. The fact the police didn’t shoot him is amazing. Oh the CCW guys they would probably react appropriately.

    • The actor? Wasn’t he just getting paid?

      Thats like saying the guy who makes fries at McDonalds should die for getting everyone fat in his town.

      • while i dont think the actor should die for this, he had some responsibility. he knew full well what he was doing and the money doesnt matter. thats the equivalency of saying the nazis at concentration camps were just following orders.

        • You’re kidding right? Sending untold thousands to their slaughter is the same as acting in a movie theater? This IS still a free country right? We bitch moan and complain about hoplophobia and then say this man should die for acting a part? Was it the brightest idea in the world, not really, should have at least gave a “its all part of the show” warning, but to equate him to nazis?! Madness!

        • While the Nazi comparison is over the top the actor bears responsibility. He chose to accept money to play this role. He decided to do this. After the shootings in Aurora I would never have done something this stupid. It could have easily ended up with him dead because of his unwise decision.

      • “Thats like saying the guy who makes fries at McDonalds should die for getting everyone fat in his town.”

        they shouldnt!? (evil grin) 😉 (jk!)

  2. I don’t get it. Why’s Ironman need an M4 and a 9mm. The man fires energy blasts, for pete’s sake.

      • Many observant Jews don’t spell the word God because of religious laws. There may be some Christians who do this, also. If you spend much time poking around the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership ( you’ll see it, also.

        • Billy, the reason for it is so that the name of G*d does not get damaged or profaned, either through an accident or intentional vandalism, not to fool anyone. If the name is not written out no one can screw it up.

        • Technically, they do not spell out the NAME of God.


          they had no asterisk in the Hebrew, the vowels were just left out. The Hebrews set the pace for modern “vanity plates” spelling on cars LOL

    • Re: William Foley
      “As G*d is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

      One of the most classic lines from a ground breaking series. A+ for recall.

  3. This story could easily have read “Capital 8 Theaters manager arrested on charges of first degree murder after stunt gone wrong.”

  4. This article is misleading enough to be considered fiction (showing up on The Onion didn’t help). They didn’t storm the theater. There was a group of actors who were standing in the lobby, including the ones dressed as Iron Man and Nick Fury, doing cosplay promotion as they had done for a number of other premieres. The cops were called, came in, checked the weapons (which were properly marked as fake), and left. Then a bunch of sleazy reporters sensationalized the story and spread it all over the internet.

    • I live in Jefferson City and regularly attend this theater (though I was not there the night in question). I don’t have a prob with them being in the lobby, but according to local radio they walked into the theater lobby from the parking lot already in costume and that’s what prompted 911 calls. It’s still insanely stupid, but they didn’t bust into a theater mid showing.

  5. Post-Aurora equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Liability for any injuries (had they occurred) should have landed squarely on Shooty McSHIELDerson’s and the idiot theater manager’s shoulders. What colossal morons.

  6. I visited MA to see iron man and may or may not have disregarded their gun laws in the process… Simply because of aurora. Pulling a stunt like that is insensitive and pure idiocy. Are there really no laws on the books that prevent things like this?

  7. Any word on if the theater was a “gun free” zone? If so, there was no danger to the actors whatsoever 😉

      • You “carry” at a theatre because……
        You may think someone might also be carrying and be afraid that person might shoot you first?
        You are a puss who feels tough by “carrying”?
        You can?
        Now I will be respectful and let you answer without including my assumptions, why do you carry?

        • hey dummy you just answered your own question
          “You “carry” at a theatre because……
          You may think someone might also be carrying and be afraid that person might shoot you first?”

          now go back to your TV and finish watching MNBCS

        • Because almost all of the self-defense stories I’ve heard in 30 years of teaching shooting, and while working with survivors of sexual assault and other violence, happened on routine days in places where there was no advance warning of danger.
          Trouble doesn’t RSVP.

      • If he’s anything like me, he carries at a theater because he carries everywhere. The reasons I do so are many and varied, but that’s my answer anytime someone says, “You’re gonna carry a gun to the theater/grocery store/mall?”

        I don’t carry a gun to the theater. I carry a gun.

        The best I’ve ever seen it explained was this, from Tam’s blog, View From The Porch.

        This is tied in to another thing I often read on the internet “You carry a gun to the (grocery store/restaurant/nice neighborhood/sewing circle/whatever)?” No, I don’t. As Kathy Jackson phrased it so well, I don’t carry a gun “to” anyplace; I just carry a gun. I put the gun on in the morning with no more emotional freighting or special foresight than my shoes. In fact, probably less, because I may wear different shoes, but I always carry the same gun.

        When I put my shoes on, I did not run though a complex internal calculus of “Well, there’s a ‘No shirt, No shoes, No service’ sign at the bank, and I think I have to wear them at the grocery store, too. On the other hand, it’s warm out, and I could put those errands off and not wear shoes today…” I just put my shoes on. It’s the default state, just like putting the pistol in the holster on my belt. As I go through the day, I don’t constantly think about my shoes, and whether I might “need” them at my next stop. Ditto, the gun.

        What makes this hard for some people to understand is that, to them, a gun is an object of heavy totemic significance. They have not been exposed to firearms except via the entertainment industry or the six o’clock news, where they are constantly being used to deal death and mayhem, whereas I’ve been around them more or less constantly for my entire adult life and they’ve mostly just sat there. An object that to many people contains heavy emotional freighting is about as significant or shocking to me as an ashtray or a steak knife (to name a couple of other frequently-used murder weapons,) and I think this is the source of the massive disconnect between viewpoints.

        Also, there’s this.

        • Matt in FL, that was brilliant. I have always tried to explain why in over 4 and a half years of CC, I have carried everyday but one. It is, as the blog so succinctly explains, like putting on my shoes or shirt or whatever clothes I’m wearing for the day. In fact I don’t even give it a second thought once it’s on, same place, same gun and holster each day. Excellent!

  8. Put me down as another person who would have drawn down on this guy if I hadn’t noticed an orange tip on his gun. Even then, I’d probably pull aside someone in management and urge them to can the fake guns in the theater in this post Aurora, CO world.

    Reasonable person doctrine.

    Ability: M4gery. Check.
    Opportunity: Damn straight skippy. Check.
    Jeopardy: What happened in Colorado? Oh yeah.


    Hopefully Mr. Paid Character wouldn’t have turned suddenly or raised his M4 or he would have probably had a bad day.

    Someone at the theater needs to be fired for a gross lack of good judgement.


  9. This could have been a disaster. Since Aurora, I’ve carried my Glock 27 concealed whenever I’ve gone to the movies. I can’t say that I would have shot the guy, but it could have happened if this stupid stunt had occurred in a theater where I was watching a movie.

    • How do you like the 27 for carry? I was thinking of getting one to compliment my 22 so I can actually carry occasionally!

  10. f^cking morons.

    everyone involved in the planning and orchestration of this should choke themselves silly, including the actor. hell they can use a leather belt in their closet for all i care.

    “no thank you, i cannot do this because IT IS F^CKING STUPID!” is all that should have been said.

  11. As stupid a stunt as this was, it was A) probably blown way the hell out of proportion by a lazy media on a slow day, and B) damn lucky for them and the firearms community as a whole that nothing serious came of it.

    • I think as a whole, like others have said, this is a huge testament to the firearms community that CCW’s are not “I hope someone tries” trigger happy wild west “gunslingers” that the MSM and anti’s like to paint us to be.

  12. The sign that Bill Engvall would give each of the people who made this happen would have to be shown on IMAX.

  13. When this was in the brain storming planning stage,
    how did this get by the “WTF, are you an idiot” filter?

  14. So, I’m kinda taking issue (yet again, yes, I know) with this site and its penchant for overblown headlines that range from slightly exaggerated to completely untrue. I’ve now read a half dozen slightly different stories about this incident, and in exactly zero of them can I find any indication that anyone “burst into” anything whatsoever.

    I am still unclear whether anyone dressed up and carrying a fake weapon walked into any of the actual rooms where a movie was showing as opposed to just being in the lobby of the theater, but the way the stories are written lead me to believe that as snipe4fun stated above, the actors were hanging around in the lobby, not “bursting into” anything or even really doing much more than standing around and looking cool.

    If my understanding of the situation is correct, this is a completely overblown story, first in the media, and then TTAG takes it to another level with a headline that has no supporting evidence whatsoever. I think this story could have been much better used as an example of the fearfulness (borne from ignorance) of the populace, or the bias of the media, than as a (false) example of stupidity at work.

    • Presumably, whatever story Nick read was in fact overblown, and he then made the astounding error of trusting MSM.

      That said, someone did call the cops, so someone was scared. ATC, they likely had reason as there IS precedent.

      I think some latitude might be granted.

      • I live about 30 miles from the incident. My understanding is several people saw one of the actors, with an AR15 looking gun (with the orange tip) being escorted across the parking lot to the lobby. They call 911. The police did respond but don’t seem upset by the incident.

    • Agreed. From what I can tell, the photo above is pretty much the extent of the activities these people were involved in. Essentially, they were human cardboard cutouts.

      On the other hand, I get why some people might have a bit of a freak out seeing some random guy strolling past the ticket booths in tactical gear, holding what looks like a rifle. It might have been a good idea on management’s part to get the people in out of costume, get them all ready together, and then get them out in a group with Iron Man in front. Then it’s obvious what’s going on.

  15. These people were traumatized enough having to sit through that piece of crap film…but seriously, did they not even stop to think about it?

  16. i would have painted him in a heart beat with my crimson trace attached to my S&W j frame 38…what a fu$kin Idiot…..

  17. As a friend of one of the “actors”, i’m glad none of you trigger happy idiots were there. Your propensity to shoot first shows that you have no business being a CCW holder.

    Granted things could have been handled a bit more gracefully (allowing them to use employee areas to dress and enter/exit the building), this has been completely overblown by Nick, local news, and reddit.

    This is primarily a group of steampunk/zombie cos-players who were approached by theater management to create a fun environment for kids in THE LOBBY on the opening weekend of the movie. At no time did any of them enter a darkened theater in progress dressed as they were, and they were accompanied by a professional photographer (image at the top of the story taken by said photographer).

    • None of us are trigger happy, sir.

      The comments with which you take issue are in response to the story. The sensational version – or one of them – came fom ABC, hardly the National Enquirer or Fox.

      Had a fellow as described indeed burst in to a cinema with a movie going, who knows what might have happened?

      Someone shouting DROP IT would loose some advantage, but that’s still likely to have gone down that way. Had the actor then not complied or done something stupid, them a tragic but understandable shooting should likely have ensued.

      Such is the current, rather disturbing climate.

      Think before you slam.

      • My statement may have been emotionally charged because of my relation to the subject of the story. I’m a gun owner and frequent reader of this blog/news site and planning on getting my CCW this summer.

        Regardless of this story, or any scenario, any CCW holder should be acutely aware of the circumstances they are allowed to draw their weapon on anyone. The last thing we need in this “current, disturbing climate” are CCW holders in the news for brandishing/injuring/killing someone without the immediate threat of bodily harm.

        • Do you think that had everything gone in the manner many of the posters here were afraid it had, that people could have been legitimately afraid they were about to witness an active shooter incident?

          I’m glad the reality doesn’t match the story, and that you are able to correct our lack of information, but I am also glad that the folks here are thinking about the worst case scenario, how to prevent it, and how to stop it.

        • AC: you can call us all the names you want. But if some armored up civilian with AR-15 appearing weapons walking into the entrance to a movie theater complex I am in, something is going to happen.

        • And I don’t give a flying fvck what the antis would say afterward. The 5 kitted up jack offs pictured look like dirt balls and fit the active shooter profile perfectly.

        • “emotionally charged”?

          I think we have identified why you might want to reconsider getting your carry endorsement here in MO if your panties get in a bunch over your chubby friends being insulted for sheer genetic stupidity. you may also want to consult use of force laws here in MO. inside a theater would probably be justified.

      • The comments from “Piece a shit should a died for it”-man and others voicing similar sentiments seems to argue against the contention that no one here is trigger happy. Guess they could just be loudmouth internet tough-guy clowns.

    • If these guys were indeed just hanging out in the lobby with their own Nick Fury and Shellhead, I doubt it would’ve even pinged the orneriest of us here from yellow to orange. My concerns with it are all of the variable “coulda” happens that go along with it. Coming across the parking lot, or taking a wrong turn out of the can and sweeping somebody with the barrel, etc. all just scream “bad touch” to me. Then again, this time last year, I doubt even that would’ve been met with more than a growl. I don’t like airsoft much.

      Like I said, sounds like it’s been blown waaaaay out of proportion, and I’m glad nothing dumber came of it.

    • A/C I said “paint” it seems as a low information person you are you always jump before looking…..

  18. You frighten me a little.

    The emergency exits are down front, so they’re pretty obvious without having to have your “head on a swivel,” and at least in the theaters around here (and I’m in Orlando, so there’s a lot of them) I can only think of one where the entrance to the room is behind me. That’s because it’s not stadium seating and so nobody really wants to go there anyway.

    • Every cinema ’round here save one has the entrances to the rear.

      I find that a fair trade- off for living in a damned cool place.

  19. No one was arrested, even? This should have resulted in arrest, heavy bond, and imprisonment. This demonstrates that image is important, while actual safety is anything but. Except this makes a mockery of the “public safety” BS.

    This makes me furious. I’m going to kill something. A beer.

  20. They are incredibly lucky that they were not plugged.

    I know that given that situation I would at least cleared holster and waited to see what the f*** was happening with my gun down by my side out of view.

  21. Bill the theater for the cost of the police response. The police in this case should have been notified prior to the event by the management.

  22. In my opinion, in terms of common sense what this paid actor did is like wearing KKK uniform somewhere like Compton, CA or Harlem for money.

  23. Ok, Tinfoil time. I see three things here.
    1. It really was just a money drive
    2. It was some sick attempt to paint gun owners as “shoot first ask questions later crazies”
    3. It was a gigantic bet to display gun owners as extremely restrained individuals.

  24. I’m thinking the original news reporting made this sound dramatic, but what CCL wouldn’t be able to tell an actor with a prop M4 with an orange suppressor from a real criminal with evil intent? I think more than anything we’re feeding into the dramatization of something that was probably pretty cool for kids ages 4-10. If we, who are supposed to be the “sane” ones, are getting all excited about this, then that’s probably not good. People need to take a chill pill – I’m sure you could tell a bad actor from a real criminal if you were there in person.


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