Brady Campaign's Response to Aurora Murders: Guns Bad


Here is the initial reaction to this morning's shootings at a Colorado movie theater from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:

Our sympathies go out to the victims and families in Aurora, CO.

This is yet another horrific reminder that guns enable mass killings.

Although that sounds like an argument for a comprehensive ban on firearms, the Brady Campaign instead recommends that you respond to the murders in Aurora by signing a petition:

The horrendous shooting in Aurora, CO is yet another tragic reminder that we have a national problem of easy availability of guns in this country.

Sign our petition to demand Congress address this problem:

I believe that dangerous people should not have guns and call on all candidates to address the issue of gun violence in America

I will not vote for, or support, any candidate for elected office who will not sign the following "Statement Of Principle Against Arming Dangerous People":

I believe that these people should not be able to buy, own, or carry a gun anywhere in our nation:

     • Convicted felons
     • Convicted domestic abusers
     • Terrorists
     • People found to be dangerously mentally ill

Federal law already prohibits gun possession by felons, people convicted of misdemeanors involving domestic violence, and people "committed to a mental institution" or "adjudicated as a mental defective." I gather that the Brady Campaign wants to expand the last category to include people deemed "dangerous," though not dangerous enough to be committed, by a mental health professional. And if "terrorists" are not already covered by the "felon" category, that must mean they have not attempted or committed any crimes yet but nevertheless lose their Second Amendment rights based on a hunch, presumably extrapolated from their opinions or affiliations, that they might commit crimes in the future. Leaving aside the point that people bent on committing mass murder probably don't worry much about violating gun laws, I see problems with both of these proposals, since they are based on unreliable predictions of future behavior rather than a demonstrated propensity for violence.

In any event, there is no evidence that the man arrested for the Aurora shootings, James Holmes, falls into any of these categories. The Wall Street Journal reports that Holmes "has no criminal record and doesn't appear to have links to extremist or terrorist group." As is often the case with gun controllers, the Brady Campaign's response to this crime is a non sequitur.