Due to the rise in gun violence in theaters over the past decade, Regal Entertainment Group recently updated their admittance policy.
The Regal Entertainment Group website states that “to ensure the safety of our guests and employees, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to admission.”
The website added that although the procedure can be an inconvenience, it is minor in comparison to increased safety.
In an interview with the National Public Radio’s (NPR) Andrew Limbong, Andre Smith, an associate manager at a Regal Cinemas said that if a customer refused to have their bag checked, admittance would not be allowed and the customer would be able to receive a full refund.
“(We would) apologize for the inconvenience, and then we’ll offer you a refund,” Smith said. “Or we could always hold your bag for you.”
Smith told NPR that since the change in policy has occurred, no firearms or other weapons have been found.
Senior Mary Alice Stovall grew up in North Little Rock, Arkansas, home to the Regal Cinemas at the McCain Mall.
Stovall said that in her most recent visit to the movie theater, she was stopped for a bag inspection.
“For one, I had to dump my illegal contraband, (affordable snacks and drinks I smuggled in) which put a major damper on my experience,” Stovall said. “It felt like going to an amusement park. They check your bag and prod through it a little, and then you move on.”
Stovall said that she recognizes the safety precautions taken to prevent incidents like the Aurora, Colorado, shooting, but also feels as if her privacy is being invaded.
“My bag is my possession, just as my house is my possession,” Stovall said. “For someone to search my house, the police need a warrant or a probable cause. It seems logical that the same principle should be afforded to all possessions, even in a public place.”
According to Regal Cinemas, the right to check bags has always been in their policy. According to CNN, shootings have occurred in Lafayette, Louisiana, and another attack in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Regal hopes to reduce future incidents with this new policy.