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Colorado rampage unlikely to affect gun laws

Posted July 24, 2012
Updated July 25, 2012

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— Despite the national anguish over last week's massacre at a Colorado movie theater, most observers say the shooting spree that killed 12 and wounded dozens more won't result in stricter state and national gun laws.

James Holmes spent months stockpiling thousands of bullets and head-to-toe ballistic gear without raising any red flags with authorities and then purchased a Glock handgun, a shotgun and an AR-15 assault rifle in a three-week period.

Early Friday, Holmes opened fire inside an Aurora, Colo., theater during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie.

"My heart just sank," Gail Neely, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, said Tuesday. "The first thought that comes into my mind (is) not again."

Neely said tougher gun laws could have saved some of the lives lost in the theater.

"I don’t know that this could have been totally prevented. He obviously was very troubled," she said. "(But) the ammunition that he had – the capacity of gun power – I don't think a regular person needs that."

Steven Greene, an associate professor of political science at North Carolina State University, said gun control is too dicey an issue for lawmakers in Washington, D.C., or Raleigh to take up during an election year.

"This is a touchy, very hot, controversial political issue," Greene said. "Democrats especially don’t want to take it on, and (for) Republicans, whose general take is to have more liberalized gun policies, this is not exactly the environment where you want to be pushing that either."

President Barak Obama vowed to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired eight years ago, but he hasn't yet. Republican challenger Mitt Romney banned assault weapons as governor of Massachusetts, but now he opposes more gun control.

assault rifle Trend of loosening NC gun laws not likely to reverse

In North Carolina, gun laws have loosened in recent years, and banning large magazines or military-style guns is a long shot, observers say.

"I think the conceal carry bill started the movement of allowing guns in society and allowing people to carry, and there have been additional bills passed in conjunction with that," said Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston.

Last December, an expanded Castle Doctrine law went into effect statewide, allowing anyone to use deadly force if they feel threatened in their home, car or even their office. This year, lawmakers voted to allow permitted gun owners to carry firearms in parks, unless a town votes to ban them.

A bill that would allow concealed guns anywhere that serves alcohol passed the House this session but died in a Senate committee. It might be introduced again when the General Assembly convenes in January.

"I think (the Colorado massacre) is going to cause some push back, but in the end, when you look at who the Republican legislature is and who their constituents are and their desires, you’re looking at more liberalized gun policies," Greene said.

"Those people who support gun control are on one side, and those people who support the Second Amendment are on the other side," Daughtry said. "I doubt there will ever be a time when they agree on any particular bill. I hope there is, but right now, they're pretty polarized."

Gun owners say they see no need to tighten gun laws in the wake of the Aurora shootings. Rather, they said, existing laws just need to be enforced better.

"I don't think you should say, 'OK, this is a bad gun. This is a good gun.' They're all guns," said Robert Price, a law enforcement officer for 26 years.

Mary Langsdorf, who was practicing Tuesday at Personal Defense and Handgun Safety Center, on Tryon Road in Raleigh, said thorough background checks will keep guns out of the hands of most people who shouldn't have them.

"(More restrictions are) only going to keep the guns out of the good people's hands, and the people who want to get their hands on guns will acquire them illegally somehow, someway," Langsdorf said.

Neely said, however, that liberalizing gun laws doesn't solve anything.

"If more guns in more places meant safer communities, we would be the safest nation in the world, but we’re not," she said. "In fact, we’re one of the worst."

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  • piene2 Jul 26, 2012

    ""If he is not, I am. Like little kids fighting, Eyes shut tight, faces scrunched up, arms wildly flaring." - piene2

    I just gots to know .... in your world, what color is the sky?
    Lightfoot3"

    That would depend on meteorological conditions and the time of day. Your question is inane.

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 26, 2012

    "If he is not, I am. Like little kids fighting, Eyes shut tight, faces scrunched up, arms wildly flaring." - piene2


    I just gots to know .... in your world, what color is the sky?

  • piene2 Jul 25, 2012

    "An apparently not well known fact is that concealed carry permit holders hope and plan to never need their weapon.
    beachboater"

    Except for the ones that carry a file to put that all important notch in their grips.

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 25, 2012

    “Please provide an example to support your wild hare theory that some six gun packing Yahoo has ever stopped a mass shooting such as this one.” – piene2


    Perhaps you’ve noticed that these type shootings often happen in sitting duck, uh, I mean “gun free” zones. Theaters, Va Tech, Columbine, etc. However, where citizens ARE allowed to be something other than sheep, there have been plenty of examples of armed citizens stopping the bad guy, with one of the most recent being the Florida Internet Café.


    “I was under the impression that except for facemasks everything was store bought.” – gunny462


    Yep, they hand sewed quite a bit of it. These guys were serious! And they intensely hated cops. It’s amazing that only the bad guys died, with the cops basically letting the 2nd guy bleed out instead of getting medical attention.

  • Nope Jul 25, 2012

    We don't need additional gun laws, but maybe we need some ammunition laws!

  • piene2 Jul 25, 2012

    "In a darkened smaoke filled cinema with a guy wearing body armor your CC is just going to make you target #1" - Crabbit Cratur"

    "What you're implying is a CC holder is going to blindly shoot into a crowd.
    gunny462"

    If he is not, I am. Like little kids fighting, Eyes shut tight, faces scrunched up, arms wildly flaring.

  • beachboater Jul 25, 2012

    An apparently not well known fact is that concealed carry permit holders hope and plan to never need their weapon. It is for the safety of themselves and their families.

  • beachboater Jul 25, 2012

    Someone mentioned the Kenesaw Ga law requiring a gun in every household. The crime rate did plummet in Kennessaw. But guess what, it went up in surrounding towns that didn't require gun ownership. Does that tell you anything?

    I recently took the 8 hour concealed carry class. I would guess about 4 hours of it was pure gun safety. I especially liked our instructor's training for women including practicing shooting through an old purse. Mall parking lots at Christmas can be pretty dangerous.

  • StuckHere Jul 25, 2012

    "If more guns in more places meant safer communities, we would be the safest nation in the world, but we’re not," she said. "In fact, we’re one of the worst."

    Enough said.

  • piene2 Jul 25, 2012

    "9mm Glock and 12GA Patriot. Going to add a diamondback DB 9mm for the wife (small hands) and HOPEFULLY an AR-4 someday soon!
    gunny462"I bet you are disappointed that you are not allowed to carry a machine gun around in a violin case.

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