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Movie Massacre Sparks Old Gun Control Debate

We all knew it was coming and fast: the inevitable arguments for and against gun control following the shooting spree at a Colorado movie theater.

Those for gun control insist — wrongly — that if gun laws were tougher, the alleged shooter wouldn’t have been able to get one. Those against make the largely-absurd notion that if more people in the theater had been armed, the resulting shootout would have saved lives.

The man identified as the gunman had only a speeding ticket on his record. He was an honor student who’d been accepted into a pre-med program. By no account so far did he act like a maniac; he seems to have been the typical nice, quiet guy. By what criteria in some reformed gun law would he have been denied a gun? By all accounts I’ve seen so far, I can think of no “red flags” that would have prevented him from being able to purchase a gun.

Unless, of course, the laws were revised to make sure that no one can buy a gun for any reason, which have about the same odds of happening as every American citizen being struck by lightning at the same millisecond.

But the lack of logic doesn’t stop there. Not when we have opponents of anything even resembling gun control walking around suggesting that the way to have prevented so much of a bloodbath would have been to have had people in the audience armed.

This argument is laughable and it makes me chuckle every time I hear it. You don’t reduce gun violence with more guns, any more than you reduce car accidents by cramming more cars on the highway.

More and more communities have fast food restaurants, and more and more Americans are getting fat. More and more households have computers and email, and more and more Americans are getting ripped off by scams or malware. More and more neighborhoods have churches, and yet we are fragmenting over miniscule issues to the point that fewer people actually even want to step into the door of a church these days.

Our society is one that proves, again and again, that even when you have more of good things, the majority are more and more likely to do the worst with them.  That’s the issue that we have to keep in mind.

While it’s likely true that no realistic, passable gun law would have prevented the gunman from opening fire, it’s also true that having more guns being fired would have put more people in potential danger: that’s a mathematical certainty, folks. One doesn’t need to be an engineer to understand that two gunmen can potentially hit the wrong person more effectively than one can.

I don’t know exactly what the right answer is.

I do know that there are many gun owners who are responsible and trustworthy and would never do the wrong thing with their weapons. No one should want to take their guns away.

I do happen to believe that no one needs something like an assault rifle. The gunman in this case allegedly had one of those.  There are limits, I think, that should be within reason.

When I go to the pharmacy to pick up a box of Sudafed for my sinuses, I now have to show an ID and sign a form. This isn’t against me, but rather a policy designed to allow law enforcement to see who’s buying the medication and how much of it they’re buying, in the hopes of preventing the formation of meth labs. For me, it’s a pain in the butt: I wouldn’t know how to make meth if some drug-crazed screwball was holding an illegal gun at my head.  But I accept the fact that in the efforts of making the community safer and trying to prevent such operations from beginning, I may need to be temporarily inconvenienced.

I see that as neither the end of the world nor the end of my freedom as an American.

I wish we could stop trying to turn every single argument in this country into an “either/or” proposition. Common sense and reasonable solutions almost always reside somewhere in the middle.

Your Turn:

Do you think gun control laws would really have stopped this guy from killing innocent people? Do you think that audience members having guns would have made the situation any safer?


  1. […] one, and their question is this: if everyone in that Colorado, movie theater was armed, would Holmes had been able to shoot as many people as he did?  And if you ask people like Ted Nugent, […]

  2. Interesting take on the situation, and I can’t say that all of your observations have no basis.  However, your analogies are not even *remotely* appropriate to the situation.  An active shooter killing innocent people like fish in a barrel is not even remotely similar to a traffic accident, overindulging on lunch, or email phishing schemes.
    A hungry obese person is not likely to bump someone out of a fast food line also in danger of consuming too many calories.  Although, concerned citizens driving vehicles have actually put themselves in harms way to successfully aid police in ending deadly high speed crashes.  So perhaps that is a similar analogy, but it is antithetical to your argument.
    That is not to say that I think an armed citizen could have done very much in this particular situation.  Given how well planned this was with tear gas and body armor, any armed citizen attempting to intervene would likely have been quickly and permanently silenced.
    But that does not make mean an armed citizen could not reduce the body count in every public shooting scenario.  In fact, this has likely already happened several times in the past … we simply cannot know what the body count would have been because the perpetrator was stopped.  Just look at the 2007 Colorado church shooting, or the 2009 workplace bow/gun shooting in Houston, or the Salt Lake stabbing rampage earlier this year … just to name a few.
    There was even the CHL holder at the Smith County Courthouse in Tyler Texas in 2005 who fired and stuck an active shooter wearing body armor.  The shooter returned fire killing the citizen but then fled the scene and succumbed to gunshot wounds from the citizen and police.  Even though he died in the incident, he is still credited with saving lives.
    So I can say with certainty that it is, in fact, *not* “a mathematical certainty” that more guns always put more people in danger.

    1.  @frail_liberty … And actually, I have used email as a tool to warm those less savvy (such as my mother) about various phishing and other harmful email schemes.  So that analogy falls a bit flat as well.

  3. I think there has to be some happy medium between my uncle having a gun to hunt on the weekends and this guy buying 6000 rounds of ammunition off the internet.

  4. I am definitely in favour of stricter gun policies, but I do not believe they would have prevented this nutcase, or any other nutcase with his determination, from killing a bunch of innocent people. Neither do I believe that civilians in the audience with guns in their pockets would have prevented it. This attacker was very committed to hurting people, he was apparently also fairly skilled in creating bombs and booby traps. Rule out one way and he will find another. There will always be insane people and some of them will commit insane acts, no matter what laws we write.

    1.  @msalakka Definitely agree on the commitment of the attacker: If police are correct, not only was he hellbent on hurting people, he attempted to set up a scenario in which loud music would go off shortly before the shootings were to begin, which was intended to get police to his door: if they pushed their way inside, they’d have set off the explosives, which would have pulled cops to that location and potentially given him MORE time at the theater.  That is the hypothesis I’ve heard apparently from law enforcement…if that is true, this was a plan so well thought out that he’d have caused fatalities one way or another no matter which kind of weapon he could have gotten his hands on.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.