The horrific story of the tragic shootings in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater dominated the headlines this week. The usual questions of why? and how could this happen, again? dominated everyone’s thoughts. Predictably, and understandably, the legislators began clamoring for more regulations and more stringent gun control. Is this necessary? And will it work?

Looking back to the Fort Hood killings in 2009 when Army psychiatrist Major Nadal Hasan murdered 13 soldiers doesn’t give me great confidence that doubling down on the old approach is the answer. Investigation brought to light that there were multiple, even obvious, missed signals that the man had become radicalized. Clues were swept under the rug for fear of being labeled Islamophobic. The hard truth is that, while high profile, mass killings by a deranged or ideologically motivated madman remain only a small fraction of the murders in this country and are, therefore, extremely difficult to anticipate.

Our Founding Fathers, motivated by their fear of an oppressive government, made an unprecedented decision to leave arms in the hands of the people, believing that the protection of liberty outweighed the risk of citizen abuse of the privilege. There has always been and always will be tension between freedom and safety. Where we draw that line is up to us. The guns are already out there; to use a worn cliché, that horse is already out of the barn. There are reports that Colorado’s laws are too weak to prevent the sale of weapons to known felons. These loopholes should be closed—there and elsewhere. But using this tragedy in an agenda to so tighten gun control as to shift weapons from the hands of the Good Samaritan into those of the scoundrel would be misguided policy.

Preventing the next Fort Hood or Columbine or Aurora is, regrettably, impossible. We cannot place a guard in every theater and classroom in the country. What we can do is change the rules of the game. Not a single theater-goer in Aurora had a firearm to defend his or herself and loved ones from the maniac who burst through the back door on that black day.

My politically incorrect solution? Let’s arm more of the good guys—regular folks who get extra screening and training, that can circulate among us in enough numbers to provide a real, and perhaps more importantly, a psychological deterrent. I’m not looking for vigilantism, only vigilance. In some states, concealed carry weapons are already ubiquitous and I’m told crime rates are lower.

There will be those that decry the risks. And there are risks. I think they can be managed with a program sensibly implemented. I predict the old approach of more government and regulations will be wanting, and unaffordable.

It’s our choice: spend billions more on a new, ineffective expansion of government regulations or pennies on a few bullets in the right hands. What do you think?


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7 Responses to “FOR WANT OF A BULLET…”

  1. Sue Says:

    I think you’ve gone around the bend. Sorry, David.

    • Davecor Says:

      I expected a lpt of negative reaction to this concept but I wanted to float it anyway for discussion, as the traditional approach to this sporadic can’t work, IMO.

  2. Ira Says:

    Regular folks who carry concealed weapons are called…. cops. More cops, more government funds to pay them.

    “A program sensibly implemented”? Who shall implement and pay for the implementers? Sounds like another government program, unless you want to deputize the NRA.

    • heartheaded Says:

      Sorry for the delay. The comment didn’t show before the approval process was completed for some reason. After the prior comment I did an Internet search to see if claims that states with more liberal (read: permissive) concealed carry laws have less crime, and the data (and opinions) on the subject are mixed, perhaps slightly favoring my contention. In any case, I don’t think a strong argument can be made that concealed carry for law abiding citizens increases crime or violence.

    • heartheaded Says:

      I’m not an anti government libertarian –yet. There’s a time and place for regulations and spending. Maybe someday the ruling class will figure out where that line should be drawn. All they need to do is read my blog!

  3. Ira Says:

    It’s been a month, why do I not get words of wisdom?

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