Attendees of the Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend can purchase metal prop weapons, as always, but this year they'll have to pick them up offsite or have them shipped.
"They didn't want them picking them up and walking around with them at the expo," says Jo-Ann Geffen, a spokeswoman for the annual convention.
Organizers of the expo, which runs July 1 through 4, made the announcement this week after the Los Angeles Police Department and AEG Presents, which manages the convention center for City Hall, insisted that attendees not be able to take possession of metal weapons on the show floor. "This is an additional precaution to ensure the safety of all attending Anime Expo," according to a statement from organizers.
"Costume swords, daggers and other metal weapons can still be purchased on-site," according to Anime Expo. "However, to ensure attendees’ safety, fulfillment will be available at a designated location to be divulged upon sale or by mail. Non-metal props will still be allowed to be part of the show."
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Geffen said there wasn't a particular incident that preceded the new policy. "We never have" had a violent incident with weapons in 26 years of the show, she said.
She said the expo already had an existing policy that required cosplay participants to check their own metal weapons at the door. She said tents — there are now four — where weapons are to be checked have moved further from the entrance as a precaution as well.
"It is mandatory that all weapons be inspected in order to attend the event," according to organizers. "If you have prop weapons of any kind, please be sure to first visit one of the weapons check booths.
"There's so much violence in L.A.," Geffen said, "maybe the LAPD is being overly cautious."