Gun Control advocates say last week’s mass shooting in a crowded Colorado movie theater proves the United States needs strict new gun laws. But the gun rights community counters that if someone in the theater had been armed, the shooter may have been stopped.
"The fact is, if there were a concealed-carry holder in that theater with a 45-caliber handgun and a well-placed shot, that attack could have been stopped as soon as it began," director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America John Velleco told Forum host Michael Krasny this morning.
"We all want to be safe," Velleco continued. "The question is, what makes us safe? Will restricting the gun rights of the law-abiding? Will banning so-called assault weapons? Will that makes us any safer? Will closing the so-called gun show loop hole make us any safer? Or are those things just an illusion of safety?"
"What we've learned... is that the increase in prevalence of gun ownership and gun use in public is associated with increases--and not decreases--in violence," responded Garen Wintemute, director at the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis.
Wintemute told Krasny people need to speak up and demand legislators pass gun control laws, and stop blaming the NRA and the gun lobby. He said most people in the United States--even gun owners--believe that buyers should be background checked, and that those convicted of violent misdemeanors should not be allowed to buy guns. "Gun policy in the United States represents the interest of a small group of radicals," he said.
Senator Dianne Feinstein is one of several politicians to come forward in the wake of the shooting to voice support of stricter gun laws. She appeared on Fox News today to promote an assault weapons ban.
"Weapons of war don't belong on the streets," Feinstein said. "I have no problem with people being licensed and buying a firearm. But these are weapons that you are only going to be using to kill people in close combat. That's the purpose of that weapon."