In the wake of the recent “The Dark Knight Rises” shooting, gun-control advocates are lobbying for even stricter regulations on gun ownership. At the same time, some parties are skeptical whether increased regulation would have even made a difference.
Gun-control laws make it more difficult for those deemed dangerous to access firearms. But in the case of the suspected shooter, James Holmes, nothing in his past seems to have indicated that he would commit the aforementioned crime on June 20th.
Gun laws prevent an individual from buying multiple weapons within the same week and from the same store; James obeyed these rules. On the night of the crime, James had in his possession, 4 separate weapons, a pair of handguns, a shotgun and an assault rifle; but each had been obtained at a different time. As James didn’t break any rules while coming into possession of these weapons, its logical to consider whether anything short of a complete ban on weapons would have prevented the incident from occurring.
Gun ownership advocates claim laws will not stop individuals from obtaining and abusing firearms, particularly if they are absolutely intent on using them to kill the innocent. While gun-control advocates like to take advantage of such situations to vouch for tougher laws, sometimes it seems that preventing such tragedies is not always possible. Those against gun control regulation argue that criminals don’t obey laws anyways, so additional laws are not likely to have any affect.
People that knew James in his past claim nothing he has done before the above mentioned shooting indicated that he had criminal tendencies or mental health issues. Gun control laws attempt to keep weapons out of the hands of those who have showed they are a threat to society. But large-scale shooting such as the Columbine high school incident and the recent shooting at The Dark Knight Rises premiere, indicate that previously dangerous individuals are not the only ones committing gun related crimes.
While some gun control advocates are trying to use the situation as an argument for a complete ban of firearms, a recent study indicated that 73% of Americans would be against such a ban on guns. As is the political climate in the United States, a complete ban is highly unlikely unless sentiment drastically changes.
Those against gun control claim such regulations would take guns out of the hand of those that need to protect themselves and their families, and that lives might actually be saved if more individuals were armed. The fact that the suspect in the recent shooting did not shoot it out with armed police outside the venue gives some credibility to this claim.
In addition, those already in illegal possession of guns are obviously not respecting the law, so we might assume increased regulation wouldn’t change that behaviour. Considering the existence of a black market for weapons, it would seem almost impossible to prevent those with the serious intent to kill from obtaining firearms. Maybe all we can hope is to achieve a reasonable medium where negative incidents are minimized and rights are still given protection.
Current gun laws ensure that reasonable precautions are taken when individuals purchase weapons. But it may be unreasonable to expect such laws to prevent all gun related crimes from occurring. Stricter laws aren’t always the answer.