Aurora theater shooting: Gun control (victim disarmament) an unwise response

This originally appeared in the Boulder on Saturday, July 28, 2012.

Want safer theaters? Blogger Ari Armstrong suggests that theaters offer free tickets and popcorn to armed off-duty police officers, and publicize the policy.

Gun prohibitions won’t work. “At the very least, federal lawmakers ought to outlaw the high-capacity magazines,” argues a Denver Post editorial after the Aurora homicides.

After a mass shooting, England went well beyond “the very least” by effectively banning civilian gun ownership in 1998. Soon after, a Telegraph headline read “Gun crimes soaring despite ban” — a 40 percent increase. In the 2010 Cumbria shootings, a man killed twelve in northwest England.

Criminals ignore both gun bans and so-called “gun free” zones. Mass shootings have occurred in “gun free” zones such as schools and malls. And now movie theaters. The Aurora Cinemark theater “bans firearms on the premises,” reports the New York Times. Such “gun free” zones leave peaceful citizens defenseless against violent criminals. Hence the title of professor Dave Kopel‘s law review article: “Pretend ‘Gun Free’ School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction.”

Kopel provides examples of heroic armed citizens stopping mass shootings.  In 2007, a man opened fire in a Colorado Springs church parking lot and entered the crowded church. A volunteer security guard shot him, saving many lives.  The Cato Institute‘s “Tough Targets” study provides many instances of armed citizens thwarting criminals.

Regarding high-capacity magazines, Governor Hickenlooper is correct about the bomb-making Aurora killer: “If it was not one weapon, it would have been another.”

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Filed under public policy, published

2 responses to “Aurora theater shooting: Gun control (victim disarmament) an unwise response

  1. Ben

    what if i generally support concealed carry licenses and armed off-duty officers in public places, but think restrictions on automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines are also a no-brainer? it’s this absolutist “more guns are good” attitude that is just bizarre to me. the overall death-by-handgun rate in the US is still more than twice that of most other OECD countries. this doesn’t cause you any concern?

  2. Hi Ben,

    The following blog post addresses: automatic weapons, high capacity magazines, and cross-country comparisons.
    This also has useful data:

    I hope the recent move & settling in has gone well.


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