Lowcountry Regal Cinemas may search moviegoer bags at door

VIDEO: Lowcountry Regal Cinemas may search moviegoer bags at door

CHARLESTON (WCSC/CNN) - Going to the movies now has something new in common with attending a concert, a sport event or going to the airport: a search of your bags.

The Regal Entertainment Group says it is now checking bags of customers at its Regal Cinemas.

Bags includes clutches, purses, knapsacks, etc., in addition to backpacks.

There are three Regal theaters in the Tri-County, Regal Charles Towne Stadium 18 in North Charleston, Regal Palmetto Grande Stadium 16 in Mount Pleasant, and Regal Azalea Square Stadium 16 & RPX in Summerville. So far one of them is confirmed to be taking part in the checks.

"We come here with little kids, and we just want to be protected," said Iryna Piuneu, who has no problem with the check.

Regal Palmetto Grande Stadium in Mount Pleasant is one of the three local theaters now checking bags when you go to the movies.

Piuneu and Cori Harding said in the past couple of weeks they've noticed the difference upon entering, and don't have a problem with it.

"I think that it helps everyone feel safer, to know that they're checking as you walk in," Harding said.

"Usually if you bring a little bag I don't think it's a big deal," Piuneu said. "But if it's a big bag... somehow this guy in Aurora shooting was able to bring this big gun, and kill that many people, I don't mind [the checks]."

"It's a good idea," said Noreen Smith, who lived in Colorado when the Aurora shooting happened. "I mean, we lived in Colorado for 46 years so we were there when the shooting took place in Aurora. So anything they can do to protect people is very important."

The company's website explains it wants all of its customers and employees "to feel comfortable and safe when visiting or working in" its theaters.

"To ensure the safety of our guests and employees, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to admission," the company's policy reads. "We acknowledge this procedure can cause some inconvenience and that it is not without flaws, but hope these are minor in comparison to increased safety."

There have been reports of signs quoting the policy at Regal Theaters in several cities.

Some people who went to the movies at Regal Palmetto Grand Stadium said the process wasn't bad.

"They just open the purse and just did a little check and that was it," Harding said.

Harding relates it to what you can see at sporting events and concerts.

"I think that's a good idea, but maybe they have those machines that check, determine whether they're carrying firearms too, like they do in some schools," Smith said. "That might help too."

CNN reports it appeared the company added the policy after a gunman killed two people at a Louisiana theater in July. Earlier this month, Nashville police killed a man who attacked moviegoers with pepper spray and a hatchet. Both of those attacks paled in comparison with the 2012 Aurora, Colorado theater attack that killed 12 and injured 70 more.

None of those incidents occurred in Regal properties.

The Regal Entertainment Group is the nation's largest theater chain and operates 16 cinemas in South Carolina.

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