Sanchez: More guns, more problems

BY SADIE SANCHEZ | JULY 28, 2015 5:00 AM

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On July 23, a gunman walked into a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, and opened fire. The shooter, identified as John Houser, killed two women and injured nine others before taking his own life. It was the 204th day of the year and marked the 204th mass shooting of 2015 in the United States, as reported by the Mass Shooting Tracker.

Politicians and leaders across the country have spoken up about the Lafayette shooting. However, the politician who stood out the most — and not in a good way — was Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry.

The former Texas governor went on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday to discuss the recent shooting. Perry kept his ground when supporting the Second Amendment, saying it is our American right to bear arms. When asked about the ability for Houser to legally purchase a gun, Perry said, “We have the laws in place [to keep people like Houser from purchasing firearms]. Enforcement of those laws is what seems to be lacking.”

Perry went on to say that gun-free zones are the real problem at hand: “These concepts of ‘gun-free zones’ are a bad idea.” And finally, he said being able to bring guns into movie theaters “makes a lot of sense.”

This is a prime example of the pro-gun community’s history of solving gun problems by adding more guns. According to Perry, if everyone had had a gun in the Lafayette movie theater, no one would have died. And unfortunately for the former governor, that logic is deeply flawed.

Houser, a disturbed, calculated killer, was able to legally purchase a firearm with no hassle, purchasing a .40-caliber handgun from a pawn shop in 2014. CNN’s senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin said this was because he had no previous convictions for serious crimes. However, just because people have yet to commit a crime doesn’t mean they won’t, as made tragically clear by the July 23 events.

If guns were allowed in movie theaters, then Houser would still have been able to open fire — it would have been easier. Sure, maybe someone else in the theater may have had a gun, but then you have to wonder whether person’s aim is calm under pressure. What if said person shot the wrong man? What if the shootout caused more casualties? The possibilities are endless, but one thing is for certain: More guns equates to more violence.

One common reason people give when asked why they own a gun is that they need it for protection. That protection is from other people with other guns. The more people who own guns, the more people who feel the need to purchase guns to protect themselves, and thus the cycle continues. But if owning a gun required more extensive background checks and training — or if civilians couldn’t own guns altogether — then the reason for needing a gun is diminished.

The circular logic of solving gun violence by adding more guns is self-destructive and self-prophetic: the more guns, the more shootings, and so on. Look at countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, which have seen a significant drop in gun violence after implementing stricter gun-control laws.

Don’t let it take another 204 shootings.

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