August 19, 2022
“Would you please comply with the policy and check your firearms, sir, so we can stop bothering you?”
The questioner recorded in the YouTube video is a hotel security manager at Paris Las Vegas, a Caesars Entertainment holding “right in the heart of the strip” that, among other attractions, features a half-scale Eiffel Tower offering “a breathtaking view of the city.”
Hotel guest Ben, a cybersecurity professional, and weapons manufacturer (he’s an 07/02 SOT), who was in town to attend the 30th anniversary of DEFCON, the world's largest hackers conference, had cause enough to have his breath taken away. He had to answer his 24th-floor hotel room door at 11:00 p.m. after being roused from sleep by a squad of armed hotel enforcers accompanying the manager, evidently, there to make sure his “please” would be backed up with an unequivocal “or else.”
They looked like they meant business. There is no doubt they came prepared to exercise overwhelming physical force if their handler gave them the signal.
“The Security Captain was the only one with a name tag identifying himself as an employee of the property,” Ben tells Firearms News. “He had a minion with him, that was apparently unarmed, and an additional five armed individuals bearing no name tags or identification but who were ultimately employees of the Caesars Entertainment group.
“There were no law enforcement officers present,” Ben observed. “They were armed with handguns and at least one had what appeared to be a forcible entry kit.”
Extreme aversion to armed citizens is the order of the day among hotel and casino owners in Sin City, after the notoriously terrorizing Mandalay Bay shootings (and the as-yet unanswered questions and inconsistencies over that one would require another article just to list). High on that list should be why ATF gave a PowerPoint presentation with one slide admitting “on-scene ATF personnel were not allowed to physically examine the interior of the weapons for machinegun fire-control components or known machinegun conversion devices such as Drop-In Auto Sears, Lighting Links, etc.”
The hostility toward armed customers precedes that, actually, as a recap of the Question 1 ballot measure regarding background checks for private sales of years past showed. Heavily backed by Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown machine, not to mention Vegas bigwigs including the usual gang of Democrats, unions, bureaucrats, and Steve and Elaine Wynn, and outraising the opposition by three-to-one in campaign spending, the measure passed by less than one percent of the statewide vote, failing in every county but Clark. (It was subsequently declared unenforceable by then-state Attorney General Adam Laxalt after the FBI said it would not allow intermediaries to run background checks as required by the Act.)
Just last year, Mark Chesnut of Firearms News reported on a failed emergency bill SB452 pushed by Nevada Democrats to “prohibit... the carrying or possession of a firearm on a covered premises.” Noting “Las Vegas casinos continue to ban firearms from their properties and enforce these bans with private security” and that “room searches are also becoming the norm,” the article highlighted efforts by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to protect the rights of those attending the annual SHOT Show.
“Generat[ing] over $200 million in economic impact and bring[ing] over 55,000 visitors to Las Vegas” has a marvelous way of persuading the adults in the room to quiet down the wild-eyed radicals. Just not with the hotels themselves. In another article SHOT Show Attendees: Disarmed Strangers in a Foreign Land, Chesnut took the time to contact major landmarks to inform SHOT Show attendees and only found one, Trump International, that allows concealed carry and guns in rooms (albeit they suspend housekeeping for the stay). Ironically, he advises, "the big daddy of them all—the Sands Expo Center where the SHOT Show is actually held—doesn’t allow participants to carry a firearm, either. That property’s policy states, 'Sands Expo Center policy prohibits the carrying of personal firearms and ammunition.'"
Hotel hoplophobia continues, however, and just weeks prior to this writing self-described “Attorney, Guntuber (The Firearm Blog/TFBTV)” James Reeves posted a YouTube video (below) about his stay at The Venetian Las Vegas “over six months” earlier, where bags he dropped off with the bellman were searched and his gun was confiscated for the duration of his stay.
“It’s SHOT Show,” Reeves noted, “That means everyone’s there for the same thing, and they’re there for the literal biggest gun show in the literal world. So, you know at that moment, if there are a thousand people on the casino floor, 950 of them are carrying guns. The very, very important point here, is that there’s nothing stopping me from walking in, carrying my gun on my waist...nor is there anything stopping anyone else from doing it.” However, maybe there is something that will stop the law abiding from just strapping on gun. When Chesnut described the situation at The Wynn hotel and casino, Firearms News added that this casino has hidden electronic equipment, by Evolv Technology, installed at all entrances which has been engineered to detect guns on people and guns in luggage. When a gun is detected, the security team identifies the carrier and alerts the floor security to approach the violator. Evolv Technology describes its company as “the leader in weapons detection security screening”. At the 2022 SHOT Show, guests with firearms staying at the Wynn were given a choice of locking their firearm(s) in the company safe, or to immediately leave the property. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Firearms News has received reports from SHOT Show attendees (known to them) who were searched shortly after arriving back at The Wynn where they were guests. None were carrying firearms, yet they were subject to searches of all of their bags. One attendee stated that the security guard instructed him not to have “an attitude”, or he would be forced to leave the property and forfeit his room.]
Reeves continued, “I got it back at the end of the trip, and I was told that I could ‘check it out’ whenever I wanted (as long as I left the premises and ‘checked it in’ when I returned), but this check-in/check-out process was such an absolute nightmare that it wasn't worth doing,” Reeves added in his video description.
Ben’s experience was a bit more harrowing.
“I was asleep at the time and clad exclusively in my boxer briefs,” he relates. “I was told to exit my room, into the hallway, with my hands visible and raised in nothing but my very tight underwear. They searched my room, found nothing, and were thoroughly encouraged to... WARNING: For those of you with tender ears, I used a lot of bad words”
Considering the circumstances, that’s more than understandable. Anyone overly concerned by his reaction needs to refocus on the utterly offensive and threatening conduct of hotel security toward a paying guest.
But still, some may ask, what made them think Ben had violated their hotel policy?
“What made them believe you had a gun?” I asked him. “What did you say to anyone before the intrusion and what did they say to you?” Perhaps he’s mentioned something in passing to a desk clerk, or a hotel employee overheard him conversing with someone?
“As to why they thought I had a gun? I have no idea,” Ben replied. “I posed the question to the employees repeatedly and received no answer as to why they were there other than 'it is private property,' essentially pulling a ‘my house my rules’ without justifying or providing any reason whatsoever.”
“As for conversing with the desk clerk, there was no desk clerk these days,” Ben added. “Check-in was done via a machine that even printed my keys up. And the only interaction I had with hotel security the entire time I was there was to inquire where I could find some black coffee that was under $7.”
“How much time elapsed between check-in and the knock on your room door?” I asked.
“I checked into my room at the Paris about 1 am the morning of Wednesday, 10 August, after catching a red-eye from Atlanta, and this was at 11 pm Sunday night.”
That leads to the question of when this became a concern for hotel security and why it took so long to investigate. It also raises the more than legitimate question of why they felt their best course of action was an overwhelming show of intimidating force.
Wanting to explore that further, and because publicly airing Ben’s story properly raises questions about what their side of it is, I sent the following inquiry to Caesars Media Relations, identifying myself as a writer for Firearms News:
“I am writing an article about a recent incident said to have occurred at your Paris Las Vegas property, after which a gun owner posted YouTube videos of a search of his room by Security for allegedly having a gun in violation of Caesars' rules,” I wrote.
“I would like to ask the Security manager in the video what prompted his supposition that the guest had a gun in the first place: What did he say and to whom, or what was he overheard to say and by whom? What conversation did hotel staff have with the guest regarding gun possession rules upon hearing that prior to sending Security to his room, and how much time elapsed between initially hearing what concerned them and sending a team up to investigate? Was that team comprised of hotel security, law enforcement, or a combination?” I explained.
“Quoting the involved security manager will ensure that what he says will be accurately transcribed. Barring that, could I please have a quote from corporate media relations?” I asked.
At this writing, Firearms News has received no response.
About the Author
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine, a featured contributor to AmmoLand, contributor to Firearms News website and magazine, and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.