It’s hysterical every year when liberal Democrats, who are also usually members of the Legislative Black Caucus, file gun control bills that have absolutely no chance of passage. Among this year’s examples were a couple of bills filed by State Rep. Barbara Norton (D-Shreveport). Norton has filed HB 101 which creates the crime of “operation of an unsafe motion picture theater” and HB 102 which bans the carrying of firearms in movie theaters.
Norton is of course exploiting last year’s movie theater shooting in Lafayette. She can tell her constituents that she stood up to the evil NRA and tried to push “common sense” gun laws. By the way, there have only been three movie theater shootings in the entire country over the past few years.
HB 101 basically makes it a crime for a movie theater to operate in the state of Louisiana without metal detectors. It also requires each patron to be scanned for weapons before entering the theater. There is a reason why theaters do not have metal detectors, they’re very expensive to have and run. It costs $5,000 for the equipment and at least another $250,000 in training and personnel costs. Norton would fine theaters $500 for the first day without metal detectors and $1,000 for each day afterwards. If you like the lines at the airport and stadiums, you’ll enjoy the lines to see a movie. There are better and cheaper ways to secure theaters such as armed security details or a police presence.
HB 102 bans the carrying of firearms in movie theaters. This is despite the fact that the Lafayette movie theatre where the shooting took place was a gun-free zone. If a shooter isn’t deterred by a movie theater policy banning guns or by laws against murder itself, it’s hard to see them deterred by yet another law.
The decisions of how to secure movie theaters is not an issue where the state of Louisiana knows better than the operators of the theaters themselves. The decision of how to secure movie theaters should be left to the operators. Cinemas are already operating with narrow profit margins thanks to streaming services like Netflix and DVD kiosks like Redbox. The last thing the state of Louisiana should do is enact a couple of feel good laws that would pass on additional costs to the theaters with no benefit in return.
Indeed you can make the argument that if someone had a concealed weapon in the theater, it could’ve saved lives. But again that’s the decision of the cinema operators whether or not to allow concealed weapons.
Usually most gun control bills die in committee, if they’re even considered. But this legislature should set a new precedent. All gun control bills should be brought directly to the floor of the House of Representatives where they can be killed by overwhelming majorities. Barbara Norton and the rest of the state reps who normally file these types of bills deserve nothing less.