As we mourn the 10th anniversary of the Aurora theater massacre, left-leaning cities around Colorado are purposefully opening their citizens to more mass shootings.
While it won’t calm the panic, it is important to note that these horrific events are statistically rare. The Michael Bloomberg funded anti-gun group Every Town for Gun Safety says about 136 people a year are killed in mass shootings.
But three times as many, 400 a year, are murdered with blunt objects like hammers. Over 1,700 are murdered by stabbing, 12 times more than mass shootings.
But these killings don’t happen as group massacres. They happen one death at a time and don’t capture the collective psyche.
Mass killings affect our emotions in a powerful, terrorizing and debilitating way. I am certainly not immune to it. The shooting at my King Soopers in Boulder shook me to the core, causing me to reevaluate my position deeply and painstakingly on gun control.
For I too wanted to feel safe. But feeling safe is different from being safe.
When seconds count in a mass shooting the police are only minutes away. Fortunately, good people carrying guns are there when police aren’t.
Indiana state law allows anyone who may legally own a firearm to carry it concealed. It empowered Elisjsha Dicken to legally carry the pistol he used to stop a mass shooter just days ago in a suburban Indianapolis mall.
Of Dicken the city’s police chief said, “His actions were nothing short of heroic…as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him.”
Yet in Colorado, more and more cities would make Mr. Dicken the criminal.
Once our “libertarian” governor signed the bill to permit anti-gun cities to disarm citizens, intolerant elitist towns, like Boulder, moved swiftly to prevent this life-saving practice.
As we bow our heads to mark a decade after the Aurora Theater shooting, cities like Boulder mark it by specifically banning concealed carry in theaters.
Should there be a shooting in a Boulder theater and a Good Samaritan like Mr. Dicken was forced to leave his gun at home, will the city council members be liable for the violence? Legally? Sadly unlikely. Morally? Absolutely.
Down the street from my home in Boulder the King Soopers has finally re-opened.
I know neighbors who are too scared to return there after the shooting and some who won’t go without their legally concealed firearm.
One of the workers killed at that King Soopers was waiting until he was old enough to get his concealed weapons permit. What a difference it could have been if only he were 21. Elisjsha Dicken was only 22 and saved countless lives.
Yet the new Boulder ordinance, like those being pushed in other cities, specifically bans carrying a concealed gun in a grocery store.
In December 2007 a disturbed man shot and killed two people and wounded two others at the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) training center in Arvada before setting his sights on the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Upon entering the church there, he killed two more before he was met by the legally armed Jeannie Assam, who thankfully stopped him.
Yet the new Boulder ordinance, like those being pushed in other cities, specifically bans carrying a concealed gun in a “church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship.”
In 2021 a brave Johnny Hurley stopped a mass shooting in Olde Town Arvada with his legally concealed gun and paid the ultimate price. He was also called a hero by the Chief of Police.
There are establishments that serve alcohol and “areas owned or operated by the city” in Olde Town Arvada. Sadly, the new Boulder ordinance specifically bans carrying a concealed gun in such places.
Nine percent of Colorado adults have concealed weapon permits, and they should be allowed to live their lifestyle, which has the added benefit of stopping mass killers.
Just a complete aside, a recent Gallup poll finds 7% of Americans identify as LGBT. I’m grateful we have legal protections for them. But in places like Boulder, the gun owner lifestyle is too perverse to protect.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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