Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 7:53:10 AM
Twenty minutes after midnight, a man with fiery orange hair edges out of Theater 9’s emergency exit door. He walks to a parked white car ten feet away, pulls on full body black tactical gear and picks up a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle, a Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun and two .40-caliber Glock handguns. It is 12:38 AM. The man sneaks back into the crowded theater and hurls a canister spewing fumes into the crowd. Some of the audience think he is playing a prank; others think he is part of a publicity stunt planned by the theater management. But then he slowly, leisurely walks up the theater’s steps with his rifle, firing randomly into the audience. The screaming, panicked crowd scrambles to escape as the fire alarm activates and sirens shriek. This man’s name is James E. Holmes and in two minutes he murders 12 people and wounds 58 more with four legally acquired firearms. None of the victims have an opportunity to defend themselves; the theater is a gun free zone.
Three months before, another man drove into the parking lot of the New Destiny Christian Center. He crashed into a car and when members of the congregation rushed out to help, the man pulled out a gun and fired into the crowd. He shot the pastor’s mother five times. Her nephew drew his own gun, aimed, shot and killed the man – a felon named Kiarron Parker.
Both tragedies occurred in Aurora, Colorado – only 58 days and five miles apart – yet the first was proclaimed a national tragedy while the second garnered little media attention. The difference? One armed American citizen, who saved an uncountable number of lives. This difference was a ramification of the theater’s gun free zone policy – a policy that only prevents law-abiding Americans from defending themselves.
In the aftermath of these shootings, citizen gun ownership has become a national controversy. While some argue for laws restricting the accessibility of guns – or even an outright ban – we as American citizens have the inherent right to keep and bear arms.
Gun ownership is a method of self-defense; it gives law-abiding citizens the power to retaliate against unpredictable criminals. As the lesser-known Colorado shooting demonstrated, owning a gun is a portable and affordable form of security. Not only does a gun cost relatively little, but also, according to the Department of Justice, drawing a gun ensures the greatest likelihood of escaping an attack uninjured. In addition to increasing personal safety, gun ownership decreases the risk of crime. Because criminals by definition break laws, laws restricting gun availability would not affect them – they would always be able to illegally find a gun.
Because ultimately, our right to keep and bear arms is inherent -- it is our right as American citizens to defend ourselves and the people we care for at all times.