Thursday, August 4, 2011

Check Your Phasers at the Door

Except for the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits (the next edition of which is April 13–15 in St. Louis), most conventions probably don't have a very active "weapons check" desk.  Not so at — if you can believe it — Comic-Con International, held every year at the San Diego Convention Center.

You see, at fan conventions like Comic-Con, lots of fans like to dress up as their favorite super-hero or fictional characters, many of which pack various forms of heat (quivers of arrows, handheld cannons, ninja swords) as part of their costume. And Comic-Con doesn't want to discourage its attendees from participating in this way; in fact, every Saturday night at Comic-Con, there's a masquerade competition — and what self-respecting Wolverine would show up to such a contest without his adamantine claws?

Thus, according to this great article in the L.A. Times, every year Comic-Con hires an outside security firm to perform a weapons check on all strapped attendees who wish to enter the convention center. Most fans and their gear get through just fine, but some weapons — real nunchuks, sharp metal swords, and even machetes — justifiably get confiscated.

From the story:
“They wait all year to get to dress up as their favorite character,” [retired police officer and weapons-check-desk staffer Darwin] Bullock said, eyeing the bullets in a steampunk ammo belt. “We’re not trying to ruin their costume, but it’s about risk management.”

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