SOUTH JORDAN, Utah, July 11, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The March for Our Lives tour, scheduled for a Saturday stop in South Jordan, has lost its venue because of the owner’s fear that protests by pro-gun activitists could turn violent.
And a highly unlikely venue has stepped forward to offer its space.
The March for Our Lives tour features students who survived the Feb. 14 school shooting that killed 17 and injured additional classmates and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. The tour’s message supports gun control and restrictions.
And the tour already had promised all its 500 available tickets to people who wanted to attend the event, scheduled for the Megaplex Theatre location in South Jordan.
Then, on Wednesday, the Larry Miller Group, which owns the theater, released a statement:
We support important and respectful dialogue on any issue that impacts our community. When this event was initially booked, the full context wasn’t fully understood, and now it appears to be escalating into a potentially contentious situation where additional security will be required.
After careful consideration, we have decided to cancel the event at Megaplex because our venues are focused on providing a safe, world-class moving experience for our guests, which include families and children. We are refunding all deposits and will assist in helping the organizers find an appropriate location for this event.
A Salt Lake Tribune article this week revealed that Utah Gun Exchange owners had attended several of March for Our Lives’ previous tour stops in other states, showing up in an armored military-style vehicle.
On Wednesday, Utah Gun Exchange offered March for Our Lives the use of its building for the tour stop. On Wednesday evening, the pro-gun group released an official statement:
With Megaplex cancellation, Utah Gun Exchange welcomes March for Our Lives/Road to Change, to Utah and to use its facilities.
UtahGunExchange.com is concerned to hear that March for Our Lives SLC has had to cancel its event due to the loss of their venue. We respect the rights of private property owners, the Larry H. Miller Group, and Megaplex Theatres to determine how their property is utilized. We also recognize the First Amendment rights that allow us to engage each other in civil dialogue.
We reaffirm our invitation to the March for Our Lives team to Utah. We have a facility that can accommodate the March for Our Lives event, and it’s ready to go. As it has been claimed that there are threats from “outside groups” of “escalation” -– escalation which we do not condone – we are happy to add value to our original offer and pay for additional security to ensure safe and peaceful dialogue at our location. We want safe students. We want safe schools. We support everyone’s Constitutional right to peaceably assemble and we will do everything we can to ensure that March for Our Lives can assemble safely.
Furthermore, we have been miscategorized by some local media outlets as a counter-protest to this Town Hall event. We have had many successful interactions with March for Our Lives, and we were invited to their event specifically by them.
Accordingly, we have encouraged our community to attend this important discussion peacefully and to show our support for the common goal of keeping our children safe in schools. We appreciate March for Our Lives inviting us to their public event and are happy to engage in all dialogue that will help us move towards that common goal.
The statement also invites the March for Our Lives organizers to make contact to work out details, or to confirm Utah Gun Exchange is still welcome if another Utah location is selected.
March for Our Lives has told reporters it still hopes the owners of the Megaplex will honor their contract.