NewsPasco County


Did Curtis Reeves legally have the right to bring a loaded gun into that movie theater?

Posted at 9:22 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 23:24:01-05

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Curtis Reeves is on trial for shooting and killing Chad Oulson inside the Wesley Chapel movie theater in January of 2014.

Reeves said he was in fear for his life after the two men were arguing over Oulson texting during the previews.

So did Reeves legally have a right to carry his gun into that movie theater?

"If you have a concealed carry license, there's a list of places where you cannot carry. Movie theaters are not one of those places," said Eric Friday, a firearms rights attorney and general counsel for Florida Carry, a Gun Rights Group.

He said Reeves had every right to carry his gun into that movie theater.

"You may carry a firearm into a movie theater unless that movie theater is on a college campus for example. That would be the only reason you would not be allowed to," Friday explained.

"What if a movie theater serves alcohol?" asked ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan.

"You can carry into a movie theater that serves alcohol. There's no restriction in Florida on carrying into a place that serves alcohol. The restriction is you cannot carry into a bar," he said.

"What about if the movie theater has a sign that says 'No Guns Allowed?'" asked Ryan.

"Signs carry no weight of law in Florida. In other words, a sign, whether there is a sign or isn't a sign is irrelevant. A sign does not mean anything in Florida unless the place where that sign is, is a prohibitive place like a courthouse," Friday added.


But there are other places where it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon.

"You cannot carry a firearm into a polling place, a courthouse, a jail, college campuses, K through 12 campuses, all of those are prohibited places," Friday said.

Friday would not predict the outcome of the case. But he did believe the judge made legal errors in her decision to reject Reeve's motion for a 'Stand Your Ground' defense during that pretrial hearing.

"Attacking an individual above a certain age in Florida is felony battery. Felony battery is a forcible felony, and it is lawful to use deadly force to defend against a forcible felony under Florida law," Friday said.