While anti-gun activists and gun control advocates will no doubt try to score political points off the movie-theater shooting last night in Louisiana, there’s an aspect to this awful crime that ties it to the Chattanooga massacre of five U.S. servicemen.
Police in Lafayette, La., have now identified the shooting suspect — who allegedly killed two movie-goers and then himself Thursday — as a 59-year-old Alabama man described as a “drifter” who had been staying at a motel near the murder scene. According to ABC News, authorities say the gunman who opened fire inside the packed theater was John Russel Houser.
“It is apparent he was intent on shooting and escaping” before police forced him back into the theater where he shot himself to death, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said at the news conference, explaining that his 1995 blue Lincoln Continental was positioned near the exit.”
In addition to the two dead patrons, at least nine victims were reportedly wounded in the attack that occurred as some 100 people watched the comedy “Trainwreck.” The weapon the shooter used was said to be a handgun, a .40 caliber pistol.
Apparently no one else in the theater was armed. And one big reason for that — one major reason the bad guy with a gun was able to pick off his victims without being challenged by a good guy with a gun — was the gun-free zone policy of the theater’s ownership.
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As Breitbart News points out:
The movie theater chain does not even allow law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits to carry for self-defense.
According to the “Conduct Policy” for all Grand Theatre locations, the “possession of firearms or weapons of any kind” are [sic] completely banned and the ban applies regardless of whether the firearm or weapon is carried “openly or concealed, with or without a permit.”
The “gun-free zone” policy was, and still is, a central issue in the ongoing debate about what happened in the Chattanooga attacks on military installations and what could have been done to discourage them or possibly lessen their deadly impact.
Western Journalism reported on the intense controversy that has flared up in the wake of the Chattanooga attacks. A small decal on the bullet-riddled glass door of one of the military installations that came under fire from a suspected domestic terrorist provided a powerful impetus for the debate.
Certainly, there are big differences between arming trained military personnel at facilities where they work and allowing moviegoers in a theater open to the public to carry a firearm for protection. But the core question of whether gun-free zones advertised as such are vulnerable targets that invite attacks is one that will likely be asked and debated just as gun-control fanatics will no doubt pounce on the tragedy in Lafayette as a further reason to disarm law-abiding citizens.
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Do you think the “gun-free zone” policy at movie theaters serves to protect us or does it actually make us more vulnerable? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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