I’m pleased to have another posting from my guest blogger, Jerry Thompson of Columbia, MO. These thoughts are his own, edited slightly for brevity.
While twelve mostly young people have died, a few are still being treated in the hospital and the rest have been released with lesser injuries, I understand. Many people have expressed condolences in various ways for the injured and the families of the victims, while those families are dealing with their grief and trying to move on with their lives. An uncooperative, orange-haired young man is in custody for the Aurora massacre, one of the worst shootings in our country‘s history.
Gun control advocates have revved up their efforts to reinstate a 1994-2004 ban on assault rifles and/or the required ammunition for those rifles, while second amendment rights advocates have hunkered down to prevent such efforts. The general public has no strong desire at this time for gun control. Gun sales have risen dramatically since the massacre. The reason expressed for buying guns according to one article was for the buyers to “have a chance” in case an Aurora-type incident were to happen to them. Concealed pistol training has also increased. So—a massacre with guns has increased the demand for guns.
Coincidentally, I just received the current edition (August 5) of Time magazine, which is titled “How Guns Won.” An article by the same title discusses some of the thoughts and questions which I have posted, and I would recommend that you read that article.
Presidential candidates from the right and left have expressed the need to wait awhile before discussing gun control as a solution for such tragedies. President Obama has indicated that he will stick with the current gun laws for now. In the meantime, maybe the general public’s short memory will move on to other pressing issues.
Nevertheless, I suggest we consider a few questions: Would the audience have been safer with other theater goers pulling their pistols and shooting back at a perpetrator in the theater? That seems unlikely in a darkened room with tear gas and panic in the room. It would probably have resulted in more injuries and death.
Have the media been fair in portraying the tragedy? I understand that a news commentator on one television channel falsely implied that the shooter may have been a tea party member because there was another person in Colorado with a similar name. Apparently, he didn’t corroborate his story before sharing it with the public. I didn’t see that newscast, but it doesn’t seem to be sound journalism.
What are the current gun laws and are they enforced to prevent the mentally ill and criminals from buying guns? Is the general population as likely to commit crime as is a person with mental illness? Would limiting guns to the general population be a better idea? It may be that we as citizens could help prevent future mass shootings by advocating the elimination of gun law loopholes now available to gun show dealers. In 2009, four hundred mayors sent a letter to House Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid requesting the closing of legal loopholes for gun show dealers. The following is an excerpt from that 2009 letter:
“Currently, licensed gun dealers are required to run criminal background checks on all buyers, but criminals can simply avoid these checks by buying from unlicensed gun-sellers. As a result of this loophole, gun shows have become a major venue for illegal gun trafficking.
“Closing the gun show loophole should be an urgent priority. Just last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that identified unregulated sales at gun shows as a significant source of guns that “are commonly trafficked to Mexico” and earlier reports by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) identified gun shows as the second leading source of trafficked guns within America. In addition, a report released by our coalition in December 2008 found that states that have not closed the gun show loophole are the sources of crime guns recovered in other states at more than twice the rate of states that have closed this loophole. “ Source link: http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/downloads/pdf/gsl_letter.pdf
The upshot of what I have read and heard recently is that the Aurora massacre suspect planned his attack a year or more in advance, buying guns from more than one dealer. He apparently was not on any watch list and would not have raised red flags of a current danger. Maybe, then, we can’t prevent all of the potential mass shootings in the future, but we should all pursue a course of action to try to prevent future tragedies. I welcome your thoughts and discussion.