Aurora's Strict Gun Laws Didn't Prevent Shooting, But If One Law-Abiding Person In The Theater Had Been Carrying One...

July 21, 2012 - 1:08 PM

Correction/Clarification: The fifth paragraph has been corrected and clarified with citations inserted at the end of this post and denoted by asterisks added to the text of the fifth paragraph.

Purdue student and Young America's Foundation Intern Scholar Hillary Cherry provides her thoughts on the Colorado shooting, stressing the importance of protecting our Second Amendment rights:

A masked gunman opened fire yesterday on one of the 3,700 midnight showings of The Dark Knight Rises, leaving 12 dead, 50 injured, and one in custody. Liberals everywhere are wasting no time to use this massacre in an effort to push gun control and gut the Second Amendment.

Mayor Bloomberg asks the Obama administration for stricter gun laws following Colorado shooting. Comedian DL Hughley tweeted, "Aurora is 13yrs and 13 miles from Columbine! Since the 60s over 500,000 ppl have bn killed by guns in the US we have no right 2 b shocked!"

How will stricter gun laws bring an end to criminals having guns, when the laws against murder have not been able to stop them from killing innocent people?

Currently in Aurora, Colorado, where the shooting took place, there are already laws prohibiting the carry of a concealed dangerous weapon (though unenforced, due to state law),* discharge firearms,** unless by law enforcement on duty or on shooting range, and have a loaded firearm in motor vehicle within the city limits.***

Yet these laws were unable to stop James Holmes.

Crime rates alone of cities such as Chicago and Washington D.C. prove that gun bans only increase crime. The D.C. police response rate is eight minutes; most crimes are done in less than one. Gun bans create a trouble-free world for criminals considering no one can defend themselves. If I were ever to face a situation like this, I would want to be prepared.

I cannot help but think, if one person in that audience was carrying a gun with them, that person could have saved lives. Unfortunately - despite what some of the Left have said - this tragedy is an example of the importance of our Second Amendment Rights.

As I look into the history of mass shootings, one detail stands out: most of the gunmen are between the ages of 17 and 24. In the Columbine High School massacre of 1999, students Eric Harris, 18 and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at their school. In 2007, the worst mass shooting in our nation's history took place on the campus of Virginia Tech by 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho. Currently, police have 24-year-old James Holmes in custody for the mass shooting that took place in theater 9.

Why do these young people feel the need to take innocent lives? That question I do not know, but as a young individual, I have a Constitutional right to protect myself. I should not be scared to go to the movies, walk around campus, and attend class.

Some people seem to think guns are to blame for these murders. Not only did Holmes reportedly gas his victims, but his apartment is completely rigged with explosives. Now tell me, did his guns set up explosives and throw tear gas at his victims, too - or did he?

Mass shootings can be stopped. People need to arm themselves with the facts (and with weapons). If one law-abiding person in the theater had been carrying a gun, lives could have been saved.

Editor’s Note: Hillary Cherry is a Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar for Young America's Foundation.

Corrections/Clarifications:

* This ordinance banning the carrying of "dangerous weapons" was deemed "unenforceable" when Colorado state prohibited cities and counties from enforcing such laws in 2003. After talking to officials the Aurora Police Department, we found that counties can now issue concealed-and-carry permits, BUT in Aurora, it is still against the law to fire the weapon unless at a shooting range (or if you are an officer on duty). Therefore, it would have been illegal for anyone to fire in the theater. Also, the theater reportedly had a ban on any and all weapons. Anyone without a conceal-and-carry permit in Aurora must also keep their guns unloaded unless at a range.

** See Aurora Code Sec. 94-146a: "It shall be unlawful for any person to fire, shoot, or discharge any firearm; crossbow; bow and arrow; slingshot; blowgun; BB gun or pellet gun, whether powered with gunpowder, compressed air, or gas cartridges; gas gun; or any weapon whatsoever within the city limits. However, such discharge, firing, or shooting by any law enforcement officer, federal, state, county, or city, in the course of his or her official duty shall not be deemed a violation of this subsection, and such discharge, firing, or shooting at commercial, private, or public shooting ranges or by authorized classes of schools or universities at all times under proper instruction and supervision as may be authorized or permitted by law shall not be deemed a violation of this subsection."

*** Aurora Police Department confirmed this is the case within the city limits and without a conceal-and-carry permit from the appropriate county. See Aurora Code Sec. 94-144.5.

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