Asheville gay club will use metal detectors in light of Orlando massacre

Asheville gay club will use metal detectors in light of Orlando massacre (Photo credit: WLOS)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Scandals club manager and host Michael-David Carpenter is getting ready for what he hopes will be a huge crowd of patrons this weekend.

"This door only unlocks whenever you push a button at the front door," said Carpenter as he showed News 13 the standard security at the club's side-door entrance, down the alley next to the 19,000-square-foot building where Scandals resides.

"We have three exits on this level. This one here, and we also have one down at the end of the hallway." Carpenter knows after the massacre at a gay club in Orlando, concerns this weekend at LGBT clubs will be heightened.

"People are going to be scared to come out," he said.

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It's why club management is bringing back two metal security wands to screen patrons before they even get through the side door and into the entrance of the club.

Carpenter said Scandals has never caught anyone trying to come in with a gun. Club management wants to keep it that way.

Denver is preparing for the nation's third-largest gay pride festival with an anticipated crowd of 375,000 attendees. Organizers have hired 22 extra officers in addition to the staff of officers that were already on duty for the event.

In Las Vegas, gay night-club Pirahna has hired extra bouncers and security. And in San Francisco's historically gay Castro district, the plan is much the same.

In Asheville, APD has notified all gay clubs that the department will increase their presence outside and on area streets.

"One of the things I do fear a little bit is that the clubs are the ones that are going to take the hit from all of this," Carpenter said. But he remains hopeful a big crowd will come Saturday. The club has historically fought for gay pride. Years ago, Carpenter said drag queens who performed had to have police escorts when they walked in.

In the face of tragedy, the gay community has a tradition of uniting to overcome fear.

"So, if you want to come out and see the show and support the entertainers and support our staff, everyone is welcome," Carpenter said. "I think if we all stand up and come out, then all of the people who still have these jobs will continue to keep their jobs. This is a place where we want everyone to have fun."

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