Home > Popular Culture > Concealed Weapons Wouldn’t Have Helped In Aurora Shooting

Concealed Weapons Wouldn’t Have Helped In Aurora Shooting

I know that I don’t post a whole lot on here any more but I felt compelled to comment on the recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado – more specifically, the claim that some people are making that had there been more people in the theater carrying concealed weapons this whole tragedy could have been prevented.

Absolutely ridiculous!

From what I’ve read and heard, the events of that evening went something like this.  About 20 minutes into the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”, Holmes enters the theater through a front door.  Seeing a man dressed up as The Joker, moviegoers initially think it’s something staged to coincide with the movie finally opening and initially laugh off his appearance.  Once at the front of the theater, he yells something like “I am The Joker” and begins releasing gas cans and smoke canisters.  He fires a few shots into the air before finally turning his gun on the crowd.

Here’s a graphic that made its way on to my Facebook page the other day courtesy of one of my pro-gun friends.

The implication is pretty clear – that if a moviegoer had been carrying a handgun in the theater that night he could’ve taken a shot at and killed James Holmes before he had the chance to kill a dozen people and injure dozens more.

Yeah I suppose there’s a chance that it could’ve played out that way but here’s what would’ve been more likely to happen.

The ideal scenario for having a concealed gun holder in the theater would obviously be if he was sitting in the front row.  He would have a clear view of what’s happening and immediately be able to react.  Plus, there would be literally no one between him and Holmes and would have a clear shot to take him out.

Realistically, the set up would likely be much different.  Let’s say that the movie theater holds about 300 people.  Of those 300, how many would be realistically carrying a concealed weapon on them into the movie theater?  5?  10?  If concealed carry were allowed, would it be reasonable to assume that there would be a half dozen guns or more in the theater that night?  It certainly seems plausible.

And those carrying guns almost certainly wouldn’t be in the front row.  If gun carriers are seated in a purely random fashion, you’ve probably got a couple in the front, a couple in the middle, a couple in the back, a couple on the left and a couple on the right.  In other words, they’re spread all over the theater at different distances and vantage points from where Holmes would have been.

I’m also going to assume here that someone who would be willing to go through the hoops necessary to be able to legally carry a handgun and actually bring it with them into a movie theater also probably has less hesitation than the average person to actually use it should they feel compelled.  Is it also reasonable to think that a half dozen folks carrying guns would all feel compelled to act if they saw Holmes begin his rampage?  I certainly think so.

And last I checked, any concealed carry training course doesn’t require that you be a marksman of any kind in order to be able to legally carrying a handgun.

So let’s summarize.  In addition to Holmes, you’d theoretically have a half dozen people also in the theater carrying concealed firearms.  Some would be close to Holmes.  Some would be far away.  Some of those carrying would be fairly proficient in the use of a firearm.  Some would almost certainly not.

Now, it’s certainly possible that someone could have killed Holmes quickly and ended the attack but would have been the more likely outcome?

In my opinion, nothing short of a military-style firefight.

Instead of one gun in the theater being fired, you’ve got potentially six guns or more all being fired at the same time.  The people up front might have a decent shot but the people in the back probably have nothing near a clear shot given the distance, number of people and the pure panic that is occurring.  Given all those variables, anybody in the theater who is firing shots is probably wildly missing the target on most of them which means even more innocent people are getting shot and killed.  One shooter in the theater resulted in the death or injury of over 60 people.  Can you imagine the collateral damage that would have occurred had there been six or seven shooters in the theater?

I’m not a raging gun control advocate by any stretch and I support people’s rights to carry firearms.  But anybody who tells you that a heroic citizen would have prevented this tragedy from occurring by simply being allowed to carry their own gun into the theater is simply not thinking straight.  It’s easy to get caught up in the pure fantasy that somebody is going to rush in to save the day but the reality of the situation is usually much more grim.

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