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A pump action shotgun and assault rifle used in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting are shown on display at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds February 26, 2004 in Golden, Colorado. Columbine students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people at Columbine High School April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado in the worst school shooting in U.S. history.
The recent mass shooting that took place in Aurora, Colorado had many people inquiring about the future of gun control laws and regulation.
According to ABC News, Colorado shooting suspect James Egan Holmes legally purchased his firearms — an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun and two .40 caliber glock handguns — from multiple local gun shops over the last few months.
Colorado’s gun policy states that an individual doesn't need a permit or registration to buy a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. In keeping with the gun policy, it is also legal to carry concealed weapons with the proper permits.
Guest Adam Winkler, law professor and author, gives his thoughts on the worst mass shooting in United States history and the impact that it will have — if any — on future gun control laws.
On his first thoughts after hearing of the shooting: "Not again. We've had so many of these shootings. It's becoming like every two or three months, we have a mass shooting. From Fort Hood, Texas to Binghampton, New York, and Seal Beach, California last year, it just seems like every few months there's another mass shooting and the one thing we can expect from these mass shootings is that they won't lead to new gun control laws."
On gun regulation: "Our demands for gun control should not be based on these high profile incidents. We should be sitting down and thinking as a country about what kind of comprehensive gun laws we need, what kind of system we need in place at the federal level so we don't have a patchwork of fifty different state laws, and we don't have laws that are incremental laws that are responding to yesterday's tragedy … You're not going to be able to stop people from getting their hands on guns, but…we have more and more people with guns on the streets -- they're not going away, those guns -- and people are going to demand more safety than they can find in these public places when they're so easily victimized by mass shooters … One thing we're going to find from this discussion is that nothing really is going to happen. In part because the NRA is just too strong. You know, the democrats are the party that's perhaps most favorable to gun control, but they really think that it's a loser come election day, and especially this being an election year, I don't think you're going to see democrats pushing for gun control, at least not in any significant number. And also part of the problem is that the gun control movement has gotten just as weak as the NRA has gotten strong, so there's really no political movement out there that's capable of responding to this kind of tragedy and creating the coalition of reformers necessary to get effective gun control laws adopted."
On civilians carrying guns: "Well that's one of the scary things. You know police officers go through extensive training on how to use force and to use their firearms, and what we find is studies that show when they're actually put in a position that they weren't expecting -- a shoot-out situation -- their adrenaline pumps so high that it's very hard for them to shoot accurately. You know, it's true that if someone is there who can shoot and who can stop a killer, then maybe fewer people will die. But imagine in a dark theatre, when it's very chaotic and confused, you don't necessarily know who's who and what's what, your adrenaline is pumping at an incredible rate and it'd be very hard to imagine that people would be able to be calm and collected and to shoot only the killer and not necessarily other innocent bystanders. The truth is that most people who carry guns are not prepared for a shoot-out. It may work in some situations, we're going to see occasional situations like that electronic store that we mentioned earlier, but we can't make that the basis for our public policy decisions because we're going to be relying on untrained people to be firing guns in crowded public places. It doesn't make a lot of sense."
On high homicide rate in cities despite strict gun control:"There's no doubt that urban America has a much more significant gun problem than rural America. It's partly driven by gangs, we estimate here in Los Angeles that about two-thirds of all homicides are committed by gang members or people who are recidivist criminals, so it's clearly a problem in urban areas that doesn't really affect so many of the rural communities. One of the things that's so striking about the Aurora, Colorado shooting is that here we see another mass killing happening in a place where it is outside of those urban centers."
Should gun laws be stricter, looser, or is it time for something altogether different?
Adam Winkler, constitutional law professor at UCLA; author of 'Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America'; he writes for the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast