The shootings a month ago at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado are a tragedy. There is no doubt about that, but many have tried to make this cause for advocating gun control measures to restrict or outlaw semiautomatic weapons since the shooter used a semiautomatic pistol and rifle along with a conventional shotgun to commit his heinous deeds. The question that arises is would those measures be most effective, or would there have been a better solution? One question that I have had is “what if someone in that theater had been able to shoot back?” I would argue that instead of this situation being cause for greater gun control that it is justification for less. I would argue that had one or more people had guns on their persons and would have shot back that they could have stopped this tragedy from escalating from the murder of one or two people to the massacre of twelve people and the injuring of many others.
It is true that the shooter had armored himself with a bullet resistant vest and helmet. It is true that such protections stop most handgun bullets from penetrating the torso and causing fatal injury. A ballistic helmet covers the skull and is also bullet resistant from handgun and small rifle bullets, but those measures still left several areas wide open to bullet strikes from someone shooting back that could have killed or seriously injured the shooter and stopped the attack.
A medium or large sized bullet to the hands or arms could have rendered the shooter unable to operate his weapons. A bullet striking the upper arm could have shattered the bone or took out arteries that would have disabled him or caused significant pain to stop his attack. A bullet strike the legs or groin would have also caused significant pain with the possibility of hitting the femoral artery and rapid death from blood loss.
The shooter’s face was a vulnerable area that could have been hit causing serious injury or death. It is true he had a gas mask, but gas masks protect again gases and biological agents. They can’t stop a bullet. A bullet to the face could have caused tremendous damage and pain. It could have broken the various bones of the face like the jaw or upper jaw. It could have caused massive bleeding to the noses and sinuses, but more importantly a bullet hitting the upper face or eye region could have struck the brain and killed the shooter instantly.
It is true that one or two people armed with a pistol would have been at some disadvantage, but they had other advantages, too. They had cover from behind the various chairs from behind which they could have shot back. They could have moved from place to place engaging the shooter who was basically in one area. They also had the moral edge that they were fighting for survival and would have continued to fight back as long as the threat was there, while shooter may not have had to will to continue his evil deeds once real opposition had arisen or he had been hurt from defensive fire.
These arguments all point to the possibility that instead of more gun control that maybe the policies of the theaters and other places should be taken down and conceal carry of firearms should be allowed. We can’t remove evil people from society entirely who would do such evil things, but it is very possible to minimize the evil they would do by having those persons nearby would go stop the evil doers before they can cause much harm. Maybe someone other than the shooter at the Aurora, Colorado theater should have had a gun and maybe this whole thing would not have happened.