Patted down at the opera

Rio de Janeiro may pass an aggressive metal detector law.

Published March 30, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

The world's a dangerous place -- there are more Travis Bickles out there than you can throw handcuffs on. Rio de Janeiro is the latest city to fight back against the temperamental and gun totin', with a proposed law that will require metal detectors in all places of entertainment.

According to a BBC report, that will include nightclubs, cinemas, theaters and even opera houses. Patrons will not just pass through the machines, they'll get patted down, whether they're wearing jeans and a T-shirt or a beaded evening gown.

If the law passes, establishments that fail to install the detectors could risk fines of up to 270 reals (U.S. $150) and possible closure.

The law was drafted by City Councilor Ruy Cezar in 1997, after a man was shot to death outside a chic nightclub. It was vetoed last year by Mayor Luiz Paulo Conde, who said the costs of installing the detectors, which go for as little as 100 reals (U.S. $55), could put some places out of business.

That veto has now been overturned, thanks to a 24-year-old medical student, who recently decided to open fire on patrons outside a Sco Paulo cinema. However, it could still be declared unconstitutional by the mayor.

Cezar defended his proposed law to the BBC, claiming, "A life is more than 100 reals."

By J.A. Getzlaff

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