A drifter under a restraining order opened fire in a movie theater Thursday night killing two and injuring 7 others. According to reports the shooter initially tried to escape but when he saw sirens approaching he re-entered and killed himself before police arrived.
Overall very few shootings are happening in movie theaters- however they are a place where people congregate in a condensed enclosed space making them a target for a mass shooter. These shooters want to kill many people and often themselves.
According to the website of the theater, guns are prohibited. Louisiana is a state that criminalizes possession of firearms even by permit holders in a private business that posts signs. In some states a person with a permit can ignore these signs and the worst that can happen is they may be trespassed by the business if discovered. This is not the case in Louisiana carrying into a properly signed business can result in serious criminal penalties if discovered. Therefore this theater was another gun free zone where a mass murderer could expect that he likely would not be shot at. Many of these kinds of mass shooters kill themselves before the police arrive, often just as armed resistance arrives. A common theory is that while suicidal these shooters want to be in control of their death. Even shooters seeking a death by cop pick locations where they won’t immediately face an armed threat. The Aurora Colorado mass shooter had an opportunity to target closer theaters and perhaps chose the theater he did because they posted no firearms signs. That same shooter immediately surrendered when law enforcement arrived- after hundreds of rounds had been fired and a dozen people killed.
If one of the movie attendees had been armed would it have mattered? Perhaps- even one shot back at this man might have forced him to kill himself if the good guy missed. The media frequently worries that CCW holders will shoot an innocent person- but I cannot find a single incident where this appears to be the case. Perhaps in a world where there were limited gun free zones for this man to attack he would have just shot himself in a dramatic fashion and no one else would have been killed or injured.