Tuesday, February 13, 2007

meanwhile, back at the firing range...

Looks like mass murder is still a recurrent trope in my home country (via Drudge, here and here).

Could an armed citizen have stopped either of these massacres? I'd be interested in comments from people on both sides of the aisle regarding gun control. For a good philosophical framing of the gun control issue, see Dr. Vallicella's excellent-- though by no means balanced-- post here.



Jeff in Korea said...

I grew up an hour north of SLC and lived in down town Salt Lake while going to law school. In fact I lived 2 blocks from Trolley Square.

I was talking to Jodi from Asia Pages earlier today about this topic and I told her, in all seriousness, that I was surprised he lived long enough to kill 5 people.

Utah has very liberal concealed weapon laws, (basically anyone who is not a felon, is not certified nuts, and who has taken an 8 hour safety course can carry)....and a LOT of people are packing heat in Utah. Plus, in some places you are looked at as an outsider if you DON'T have a gun rack in your pick up.

The concealed carry laws were liberalized not long after a scary hostage taking incident (where I was very nearly taken as a hostage) at the Salt Lake Public Library in March of 1994 which you can read about here.

There were basically three arguments in favor of the liberal concealed carry laws. I happen to agree with all of them.

1. After Florida liberalized their concealed weapons laws gun related crimes dropped.

2. Criminals carry concealed weapons without regard for required permits. Thus, prohibiting the law-abiding citizenry from carrying concealed weapons creates a society where the criminals are armed and the general population are the only ones how have no way of protecting themselves from the armed criminals. Criminals know, therefore, that law-abiding citizens are unarmed and make good, safe targets. Thus, people are put in danger because they obey the law.

3. Sort of an extension of the previous argument.... If a bad guy know that anyone, and possibly everyone, on the street, on the bus, in the store, etc is carry a gun, he may be a bit more hesitant to commit a crime.

Rico Magnifico said...

When I saw this on the news, my first thought was "This is why I carry a gun."

I'm a proponent of an armed society...in overly simplistic terms, if the bad guys have guns it only makes sense for the good ones to have them as well.

While a gun battle in a mall is not exactly an ideal situation (I recognize the dangers associated with a gun in untrained/incompetent hands), the bottom line is that lives could have been saved with prompt (and competent) action.

Jeff in Korea said...


Apparently lives were savied with prompt and competent action. One of the people in the mall at the time was an armed, off-duty, out-of-city police officer having a meal with his wife. When the shooting started, he sent his wife out the door and went after the guy. He talks about his experience here.