Just after midnight, police say a lone gunman walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and opened fire. Police say the suspect, James Holmes, shot 70 people. As of Friday evening, 12 of those people had died.
As news of the mass shooting spread, people began to ask HLN on social media how this could have happened. How did Holmes obtain the weapons? And should this lead to bigger conversations on our nation’s gun laws?
“What is with people and trying to kill others? This is why guns should be completely and totally illegal. It’s not worth people getting killed! It’s not. It’s not. IT’S NOT!!!!!!” Princess Sinthya wrote on HLN’s Facebook page.
Beverly Ann M. said making guns illegal would have a worse impact. “That would only leave decent people unarmed and unprotected while only criminals would still be packing.”
Multiple people agreed with Beverly, and pointed out that if anyone was carrying a concealed handgun in the theater, someone would have been able to stop the shooter.
“If only ONE of those victims had a legally concealed gun, they could've taken the gunman down and saved lives,” Samantha C. wrote. “We have to be able to protect ourselves.”
But Patty J. disagrees. “Being armed will not help. Teaching our children that they are loved and are special will go a long way to help.”
Jess H. also wanted to change the conversation from gun regulation. "Instead of gun control, let's make this a conversation of mental health. We need to stop pushing this aside."
In light of the shooting, Russ K. suggested metal detectors be placed everywhere. But Brett R. responded, “Unfortunately, metal detectors wouldn't have done anything here. He entered the theater through an emergency exit.”
Like many on our Facebook page, Mike S. said he believes the U.S. gun laws are sufficient. “It's pretty clear it's not the gun, it's the person,” he wrote. “The gun was a tool used, just like knives, cars, household chemicals, machetes, etc. Put ANYTHING into the wrong hands and it can become disastrous.”
Late Thursday afternoon, a federal law enforcement official said the guns were legally purchased at Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain Guns. HLN’s Ryan Smith pointed out that because the shooter didn’t have a criminal record, there would have been no way to prevent him from obtaining the weapons used in the shooting.
As the police investigation continues, we’ll bring you the latest updates and try to get to the question everyone is wondering: Why did this shooting happen?