“Largest Mass Shooting in U.S. History: A Rational Call for Stricter Gun Control”

July 20, 2012

By Melissa Bynes Brooks

Recent gun violence in Chicago was not enough to commence debate on Capitol Hill for stricter gun control laws. Maybe the largest mass shooting ever in the United States on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado will. The massacre ended with a gunman killing 12 people and wounding 59 others during a midnight showing of ‘Dark Knight Rises.’

It was perfectly legal for James Holmes, the 24 year old suspect, to acquire all of the weapons he used in the massacre according to the state laws of Colorado. The gunman did not have a criminal record or history of mental disorder.  Aurora Police Chief, Dan Oates, said officers found an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12-guage shotgun, a .40-caliber Glock handgun in the theater, and another identical handgun in the car.

While the suspect’s purchase may have been legal, serious proponents against gun violence are wondering, “Shouldn’t there be a meeting of the minds for developing some kind of “red flag” database system to alert law enforcement officials to (at least) multiple purchases of firearms?” In this case, all purchases were made within the last six months at Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain Guns.

Seriously, why would a 24 year old need a drum magazine capable of holding more than 100 rounds of ammunition if he’s not employed in law enforcement or on active duty in the military?

I don’t get it and I totally believe in the Second Amendment which gives all citizens the right to bear arms. I also believe that law abiding citizens, like me, who would not otherwise consider legally carrying a concealed weapon– are rethinking that option today because of inadequate gun control laws that are incapable of protecting them from gun violence.

But does this compound the problem?

These are the criteria for purchasing guns in the state of Colorado.

  • Colorado allows people to “possess a handgun in a dwelling, place of business, or automobile.” But they cannot “carry the weapon concealed while transporting it into your home, business, hotel room, etc.”
  • Colorado allows a person to carry a firearm in a vehicle, loaded or unloaded, if its use is for lawfully protecting that person’s property or another person’s property.
  • Concealed weapons permits can be obtained in the county in which a person lives.
  • Colorado prohibits gun registration.

At the end of the day and “yes, when the cameras are gone,” one can only hope that calls for stricter gun control laws will gain some traction. But the topic of gun control is such a politically polarizing issue. So, all bets are off and it is highly unlikely that we will see a healthy debate resulting in practical solutions among those advocating for stricter gun laws and those advocating for more gun rights.

Despite the cynicism, the call for action goes on.

Earlier this year in March, the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition Co-Chairs which is a coalition of mayors advocating for stricter rules on gun sales and ownership, urged the U.S. Senate to reject bills that would override state laws on concealed, loaded guns.  New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino  joined  more than 625 mayors, police officers, prosecutors and domestic violence experts who oppose legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate that removes state rules for who can carry a concealed, loaded gun in public.

On Friday following the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Mayor Bloomberg called on President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to share with the American people what they would do to reduce gun violence. Stay tuned…

“Soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,” Mayor Bloomberg said.

“I don’t think there’s any other developed country in the world that has remotely the problem we have,” Bloomberg said. “We have more guns than people in this country.”

So, let’s put the people’s interests before the special interests of the National Rifle Association (NRA). 

Melissa Bynes Brooks is the editor of BrooksSleepReview.

Contact information: melissabynesbrooks@comcast.net

Follow on Twitter @Mlbbrooks