Guns And Comic-Con

Amid all recent gun violence and threats of gun violence, an annual event kicked off in San Diego that brings with it a tradition that is suddenly of concern: fake weaponry.  

Comic-con International 2016 spends four nights at the San Diego Convention Center, attracting 135,000 fans, many in costumes. That includes The Punisher, Nick Fury, zombie hunters and other costumes that require gun facsimiles to achieve authenticity.

This time, though, the faux artillery arrive after police attacks in Texas and Louisiana, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Orlando, Fla., and heightened security outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

“With terrorism across the globe – France last year – and Dallas and Orlando, you have to make adjustments,” a San Diego police spokesman told the Los Angeles Times. The effort to allow the toy weapons is significant: the San Diego police department coordinates with event planners to determine the number of officers and traffic controllers necessary, and works with the San Diego Harbor Police, the Naval Training Center and even the FBI to handle event security, the Times said.

Costume swords need to be tied down so they cannot be removed from their scabbards, arrows are zip-tied to their quivers with the tips removed and stilts need to be approved, according to the paper.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time they do what we ask them to do, and they’re glad to see us and want us to protect them,” the spokesman told the Times.