This blog post is a little bit of a departure in that we aren’t providing any answers to a tough and perplexing debate. We are just trying to have a discourse and make sure people talk about what happened and what we might do to move forward. The gun debate is heated on all sides with gun victims, gun owners, and the bill of rights. It has been and will continue to be part of American culture since the beginning.
Another sad event in American history occurred last week in Aurora Colorado: A lone gunman entered a packed movie theater and opened fire on the audience killing 12 people and injuring another 58. A suspect, James E. Holmes, is in custody and had his first court appearance on July 23rd. No motive has yet been established and James has not been forthcoming except in letting officers know that his apartment was booby trapped. Overall it is an incredibly tragic and sad story. The question is will we learn anything from it before everything goes back to business as normal?
Whenever a shooting incident like this occurs those in favor of gun control speak up with another example of why it is too easy to buy not just a gun but assault rifles and extended clips. They argue that if it had been more difficult for James to purchase the 6000 rounds of ammunition that we had then this incident either would not have happened or would have been much less tragic. They cite that James was able to purchase this ammunition anonymously online. They argue that if he had been required to go into a gun store and be verified for the purchase then he may have backed out or not passed the verification. They also cite that he had a 100 round clip which allowed him to shoot as many people as he did.
On the other side of things the gun owners and gun sellers argue that if this had not been a ‘Gun Free’ zone then there would have been a better chance that someone would have fired back and prevented or reduced the damage that James caused. They also argue that arming more citizens creates a safer environment as criminals would be less likely to do what James did knowing another armed individual was around. They also argue that the Bill of Rights guarantees us the ability to keep and bear arms and that any gun control infringes on these rights.
At the end of the day we have a dozen people innocently killed while trying to enjoy themselves in what is thought to be a safe place. Just 18 months ago we in Arizona experienced a similar incident where a lone gunman with an extended clip opened fire in a supermarket parking lot killing and injuring a number of people. We have written about Gabby Giffords and Jared Laughner before and the gun debate has not changed much since then.
What do you think? Do we need more gun laws or should we arm everyone?