Question of the Day: Could An Armed Civilian Have Stopped the Batman Massacre Spree Killer? Does That Matter?

James Holmes’ attack on a packed Aurora, Colorado cinema was planned for maximum carnage, and planned well. The 24-year-old entered through the right exit door wearing a bullet resistant vest, a ballistic helmet and a gas mask. He tossed tear gas canisters into the dark and then opened fire on the crowd with a shotgun, rifle and two handguns (although in which order and with how many rounds we don’t know). It’s hard to imagine that an armed civilian could have done much of anything to stop the carnage. Unless, of course, the law-abiding citizen had encountered, challenged and possibly shot Holmes before the attack. And anyway, who wouldn’t have wanted a firearm inside the cinema, not knowing how many attackers were involved and how the killing might proceed. Mayor Bloomberg? We know how his bodyguard roll, and we know Bloomy doesn’t roll without them. So isn’t it always better to be armed than not, no matter what?

comments

  1. avatar Chris says:

    Short answer: Maybe, but everything after that is speculation.

    I have a lightguard on my Glock but…
    How long would it take me to recognize the threat?
    Will I have a clear line of sight to the bad guy and a clear back stop?
    What if I was the first guy shot?
    How will the tear gas affect me?
    What will I do when first shots fail because he had on armor?

    I don’t think it’s possible to answer these questions, so it makes the point moot.

    That being said, a better question might be just how many atrociously bad arguments can you fit into one sound bite?

    1. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

      The armed hero scenario only works if there’s only one armed hero. Here’s the math:

      1) Smoke grenade goes off, shots fired, you’re the only other guy with a gun, you target the assailant, he goes down, you’re a hero (this assumes a LOT of things go right, but bear with me for sake of argument).

      2) Smoke grenade goes off, shots fired, from somewhere else in the darkness more shots are fired, and then some more from a third location. Suddenly you’re NOT the only other guy with a gun. Are there multiple assailants? Who do you target? And which of the other heroes will be targeting you by mistake?

      Saying “more guns would have prevented this tragedy” is easy. Wrong, but easy.

      The harder fact is that counter-terrorism units spend hundreds, maybe thousands of hours training for situations like this. Because it is hard to shoot back, and easy to make mistakes.

      1. avatar Brian says:

        This is exactly the way I keep seeing this scenario play out in my mind. I’m pro-gun, pro 2nd Amendment, pro CCW, pro defensive ownership and carry. In a scenario where you’re the clear victim and there’s one clear bad guy, defensive force can work. In a scenario where there’s a clear third party victim and a clear bad guy, defensive force of the third party can work. But in this scenario, with mass chaos, if there are multiple armed parties, I don’t see how it would be possible for you to properly identify who the “bad guy” is, or for others not to identify you as the bad guy, simply because you’re aiming a gun after the use of force. Argument to get rid of CCW? No, just an argument against those who say, “If I’d been there with my weapon, there’d be far fewer killed/injured.” I just don’t buy it.

    2. avatar Bryce C says:

      +1

      I never know if incidents like this makes pro or antis switch sides. I just hear and see more chatter

    3. avatar Bob says:

      Or how many straw men can one fit?

  2. avatar Buuurr says:

    #1 Could An Armed Civilian Have Stopped the Batman Massacre Spree Killer? #2 Does That Matter?

    #1 No, the theatre does not allow firearms.
    #2 Yes, people who would have had a chance had that chance taken away and are dead.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      Seventy One families (of the 71 victims) should sue that theater franchise company out of business. Let’s see how many companies are willing to put up their Gun-Free (Victims-have-been-disarmed) signs after that court battle is lost.

      1. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

        The reason theaters put up signs like that is to avoid lawsuits that come from accidental gunfire.

        Think about it this way: Every year, there are about 20,000 accidental gun injuries in the U.S., about 30 or 40 of these are performed by gun experts, like police safety instructors and so on.

        The reson movie theaters want people disarmed is to protect everyone from accidental shootings. The cost is that they make people defenseless against intentional shootings, but in all honesty, they were defenseless anyway.

        Even if you had been carrying your gun, you would not have had your gas mask with you, or your night vision goggles. Everyone wants the “opportunity” to defend themselves, but really all people get is a false sense of security that comes from having a gun in your pocket.

        1. avatar Buuurr says:

          “Even if you had been carrying your gun, you would not have had your gas mask with you, or your night vision goggles. Everyone wants the “opportunity” to defend themselves, but really all people get is a false sense of security that comes from having a gun in your pocket.”

          I disagree, Dave.

        2. avatar Totenglocke says:

          You mean like the old man in Florida earlier in the week had a “false sense of security”?

          Give the trolling a break and pay attention to the facts.

  3. avatar bob says:

    Yes an armed citizen could have stopped him. Maybe not with a handgun, but definitely with the rifle in the trunk. Even the BG having to contend with a handful of guys with sidearms could have resulted in lives being saved. Those familiar with Mark Wilson and the Tyler, Texas courthouse shooting can probably attest to that.

  4. avatar Aharon says:

    Without guns the shooter could have thrown Molotov cocktails, used more dangerous types of homemade gas bombs, used a knife or sword to slash movie goers, run people down with his car, and oh yes he could have made up some form of explosive device and self-detonated it essentially doing a suicide bombing. Despite all his guns so far seven people are sadly dead. It’s not good how many have died yet someone driving a multi-ton vehicle could kill far more.

    1. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

      A fertilizer bomb in a U-haul, backed up against the theater would have killed everyone with around a zero percent chance of survival….and it would not have to be self detonated.

      1. avatar Aharon says:

        True and great comment.

  5. avatar Aharon says:

    Where is my comment?

    DELETED. NO FLAMING THE WEBSITE, ITS AUTHORS OR FELLOW COMMENTATORS.

    Please send any comments about TTAG’s editorial stance or style to guntruth@me.com.

    1. avatar Aharon says:

      I NEVER flamed?! I just asked posted a comment asking where my comment was. I am innocent I tell ya, innocent!

  6. avatar Hazzard Bagg says:

    An armed civilian with nerves of steel perhaps could have made a difference. I imagine that your average carry guy would need a moment or two to regain his composure after the initial bombs and shotgun blasts. How to find the courage to peel yourself off the floor and return fire? However, if some such soul had been able to send some lead back in the gunman’s direction, I think that that would have brought things to an abrupt conclusion. I doubt Mr. Loonykins was ready to take a round in his chest plate and keep on shooting. So…yes, but it would have required quite an individual to make the difference.

    And no, it doesn’t matter. No opinions are being changed by this event on either side of the gun debate.

  7. avatar jwm says:

    the guy in the clip is making his point. he says no, and we need to get rid of the guns. i call bullshit. i agree that we do not know if an armed citizen could have made things better. and we can’t know without rhere being an armed citizen. but look at these mass killings, they all or mostly all have unarmed victoms for the killer to slaughter. i don’t claim to be a hero or commando trained. but in a free nation i claim the right to at least have the chance to defend myself and my loved ones. telling me that i would have been unable to help or even make things worse is making an assumption that may not be born out by what could happen. i don’t buy into that “it’s hopeless so just lay down for the slaughter ” bullshit.

  8. avatar BLAMMO says:

    There’s that “wild west” argument again. But Bloomberg probably never crosses the Hudson because the bastard is too damn cheap to pay the toll to get back.

    All I want is a fighting chance. A free people expect no more and deserve no less.

  9. avatar Jim Barrett says:

    This incidentally (an armed civilian stopping a massacre) is what we need. The problem with what happened in Aurora and in every similar event is that both the anti-2A and the pro-2A sides can make the argument that if their world-view was allowed to dominate, then this problem could have been avoided in the first place. Antis will claim that if no one but the cops had access to guns, then nutjobs couldn’t get their hands on one to do this sort of thing (bullshit argument, I agree, but it resonates with a fair number of folks). 2A supporters will retort that had there been several armed civilians in the place, chances are the whack-job would have been dropped before he had the chance to kill too many people. There is a fair amount of truth to this position – while RF is right to question whether a single armed civilian could have made a difference here, the fact is that had there been a half dozen of them, all with guns out and trained on the shooter, then the chances are pretty good that he could have been taken out fairly quickly.

    I keep hoping that the next time this sort of thing happens, the right person or people are in the right place and end the carnage early. Let the various news folks and the Brady bunch choke on that one.

  10. avatar Grasshopper says:

    And yet just this week we saw the story of two armed men rushing a Florida internet cafe and being repelled by an armed 71-year-old man. So, yeah, a single armed sheepdog can repel a couple of worthless wolves and save a flock of dozens.

    1. avatar irock350 says:

      I would like to see the sheepdogs in action while choking on tear gas in a dark theatre with hundreds of bodies interrupting their line of sight.

      1. avatar Scott Henson says:

        Better than a theater full of only victims. I’d rather have a weapon in that situation than find myself there without one.

        1. avatar irock350 says:

          Having a weapon and not using it,or not having the ability to use it is no better than not having a weapon. In either case you fail to stop the threat and you reduce your firearm to a security blanket.

      2. avatar CarlosT says:

        I could live a thousand lifetimes and still never understand why people post these smug putdowns of other people’s desire not to be passive victims.

        1. avatar SkyMan77 says:

          +1… Were theirs a will theirs a way…. If you have no will to fight evil then you are truly a victim waiting to be victimized. Sure the odds are against a defensive response but I believe that in life or death circumstances we get help from above. All you naysayers have at it, if you don’t believe I guess this doesn’t apply to you but miracles do happen.

    2. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

      The internet cafe news story is actually a good lesson in the proper use of guns. The robbers were trying to steal, not kill. One of them was carrying only a baseball bat. The other had a gun.

      When it turned out that the customers were better armed, they ran. This is exactly the reason why people have the right to own guns.

      A dark movie theater with tear gas is a different matter. A heavily armed attacker who came to kill rather than rob is a different BG.

      People still have the right to carry guns, of course, but there will be times that the guns won’t save you. By telling you that, I am not trying to disarm you, I am not trying to turn you into sheep, I am not trying to overturn the 2nd Amendment.

      I am just saying that people need to understand what is a good argument, and what is not. The “armed hero” argument, in the internet cafe case, is a good argument. In this other case, is not a good argument.

      1. avatar Rydak says:

        I agree with you in part, but I also disagree.

        From the witness statements, most people hit the floor and were actively talking with each other about where the gunman was. Many people were able to see him and describe him in great etail.

        My point is that the token “hero” in this case doesn’t really need to “blow him away” as it were, all he/she needs to do is to represent a threat, this guy was a coward who enjoyed an unfettered killing spree, when the police got their, he surrendered instantly.

        Even with the body armor, a gunshot would rock your world, anyone who has been shot with body armor stopping the bullet will know, that its like being hit with a baseball bat in the stomach at full speed by a professional athlete.

        I do wonder how many more would have lived if the gunman would have ran into someone who offered resistance, even if it was poor resistance, untrained, half blind from smoke resistance.

        I thinks its wrong to automatically discount that any civilian could have offered effective resistance.

        1. avatar virtualjohn says:

          The one conclusion that I can draw from this shooting in terms of what might stop it from happening again is: gun free zones have got to go. They are the places where miscreants know their victims are unarmed.
          The bad guy is armed because he is not law abiding. He is planning mass murder for God’s sake. What does he care about theater policy.
          The only thing that would have stopped him in the act was action by the people in the theater. OK, what could they do; throw their popcorn and drinks at him per government video instruction.Hmmm? If one or some would have had a firearm they perhaps could have returned fire. A head shot avoids body armor. Therefore the only real chance to have stopped him in the act necessitates there being a gun(s) in the hands of a citizen(s) in the theater.
          I know the application of logic is unintelligible to liberal gun-grabbers but there it is.

        2. avatar Mark N. says:

          I am not so sure he was a coward. He was in his car waiting for the police to arrive, suggesting that this was part of his plan.

          And Rydak, you assume a lot of chance occurrences going in favor of the hero civilian shooter. This guy also had a helmet; a head shot would require him to be shot while looking in the direction of the hero. And since the shooter was wielding an AR with a hundred round drum (mega firepower), and the hero is blinded, at least in part, by darkness, a shooter dressed in black, and tear gas, the chances of our hero surviving the encounter are pretty bleak, and the probability of even hitting his target even just once are slim.

  11. avatar jwm says:

    the trouble with waiting for the right people to stop the next slaughter is that the killers, like this one, pick and chose the site of the killing. and they pick gun free zones.1 point has been repeatedly made about ccw’ers and i concurr; they are very law abiding people that follow the rules. the issue i see here is how to do away with gun free zones.

    1. avatar Elnonio says:

      Well, not everyone actually respects the no guns rules (aside from criminals). Theaters don’t normally have metal detectors or frisk people. As long as you don’t do something stupid…

  12. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    My wife and I talked about this. I say you can never know, so be armed.

    That said, in close quarters like that, it takes dramatic, sudden, violent and unexpected action to overwhelm the threat in that situation. Running is the first instinct, but the 21 foot rule runs both ways.

    No idea if I could do that under those conditions. Hope I never find out.

  13. avatar Joseph says:

    In the Tyler, Texas shootings, a CHL holder shot David Arroyo twice with a 45 caliber pistol after Arroyo had already shot a few people. Since Arroyo was wearing body armor, he in turn killed the man who shot him with his AK-47. During the subsequent police pursuit, Arroyo fired at officers. At one point he stopped, got out of his truck and engaged them. He was going back to his truck to probably drive off again when he was stuck in the head and killed by an AR round that ricocheted off his truck.

    Arroyo was the exception to mass shooters. The vast majority of the time they either surrender or shoot themselves upon the First encounter with an armed person, cop or not. I think that our turd-of-the-day would have surrendered had someone fired a shot at him. He was wearing body armor from head to foot, but gave up when approached by the cops. Had a concealed carry person fired a shot at him I think the chickensh*t would have turned around and run or offed himself like most of them do.

  14. avatar Bill F says:

    Maybe not in this case, considering the tear gas. However, all spree shootings haven’t been and won’t be identical to this one. The argument that “This incident might not have been stoppable by an armed citizen therefore no other incident could be stopped by an armed citizen” is almost as feeble as those who utter it.

  15. avatar jwm says:

    we don’t know how much effect the tear gas had. it was a movie theater which means a large high cielinged room. and we don.\’t know what type of gas he was using. was it military and police grade or was it some wannabe concoction off the internet. he had a helmet and a gas mask which protects and confines and limits you at the same time. vision is restricted as wll as your aiming ability. 1 thing the helmet and mask does is give you that otherworldly, non human look which could throw some people off balance and cause them to freeze or hesitate. again, all this is speculation. i would still like the chance, slim as it may be, to defend myself.

  16. avatar Matt says:

    Not to be overly simplistic here, but wouldn’t a tackle have done wonders?

    1. avatar BPS says:

      Tackling may actually have been the most effective response, but initiating a direct physical attack in this situation would take a lot of resolve and there is no time to marshal forces.

      Having said that, I wonder how many more of these events have to occur before people adopt the post-9/11 hijacking mindset and aggressively go after the BG en masse.

      1. avatar Matt says:

        I agree it would take a big brass set, but does no one have any anymore?

        I wondered the same thing in the VT incident.

        Hell, BPS, Flight 93 happened mid-9/11, and they adopted the proper attitude within minutes of discovering what was happening elsewhere that day.

        Two days ago we discussed on this very forum, the OFWG in Florida moved *towards* the threat and engaged it.

        It’s tragic, it’s just simply tragic.

        1. avatar Totenglocke says:

          Hell, BPS, Flight 93 happened mid-9/11, and they adopted the proper attitude within minutes of discovering what was happening elsewhere that day.

          That’s true, but in the theater there wasn’t a 100% guarantee that everyone was going to die – on flight 93, they knew that they were all going to die if they didn’t do something. So it’s a similar situation, but the odds of survival for the victims was quite different.

      2. avatar Edwin Herdman says:

        That’s a very interesting idea and I have wondered about this many times too.

        I think the answer is pretty simple though: Bad guy with gun = death. Run the other way = possibility of survival. That’s probably what people are thinking. Honestly, it’s probably what I’d think of in a theater too. I’ve often thought about using tactical cover like corners inside buildings (yeah, I was in high school, in a safe HS at another side of the country, back when the big one happened some miles away from this latest rampage) but it’s hard to really steel yourself.

        On top of that there are plenty of laws and regulations about how long a knife you can carry.

        I think more people should be aware of the classic SWAT magazine article by Dennis Tueller, which is written from the perspective of the boys in blue but can easily be turned around to suit the perspective of a melee combatant in desperate situations:
        http://www.theppsc.org/Staff_Views/Tueller/How.Close.htm (is Too Close?)

        …but then again you could worry about the “wrong” people finding about it, too…I’d rather have information and personal initiative be free than have somebody else decide what’s right for every situation for me, though. (There is a classic book on lockpicking for locksmiths that implores the readers not to share the information because it might find its way into the wrong hands…like citizens who might find out their locks are not what they’re advertised to be, probably.)

  17. avatar LongPurple says:

    Hizzonor sets up a straw man.
    The question is not “Should everyone in the audience have been armed?” The question is “Were there some in the audience who were armed, and could they have stopped the slaughter?”
    Bloomy then lapses into his zombie talking points about “the [mythical] Wild West”, and the idiocy of “more guns means more murder”.
    Stopping the slaughter sooner would have been possible, IF someone was armed. It is largely a moot question, since the theater owners established a “gun free zone”. I wonder how many CCW holders left their guns in the car to avoid problems with the management?

  18. avatar g says:

    We can endless speculate, and argue about what people should have done, but I can only speak for myself that I would hope I’d be able to make a difference. I don’t judge anybody who duck or ran, because if my kids were with me, my first concern is keeping them alive, not playing hero. Whether that means escorting them out, or tackling the crazy guy even if I’m unarmed (I do have some basic martial arts/self-defense background)… hard to say unless I’m in the situation to make a judgement.

    You just never know in a terrible situation like that, where you have families, people on dates, regular folks who came to just enjoy the movie… even a trained, professional shooter like a SpecOps soldier is going to have trouble identifying a target in the dark who’s literally ambushing a crowd of people who didn’t expect him to come in.

    I think the best response for legal gunowners in this situation is not to make keyboard commando comments like “I WOULD HAVE DOUBLE TAPPED HIM THROUGH THE HOLES IN HIS BODY ARMOR” or “ANYBODY WHO RAN IS A COWARD”. It’s better to emphasize that there are thousands of legal gun owners who own guns and don’t go around committing mass murder.

    1. avatar Edwin Herdman says:

      I also think it’s worth hammering home that there are very few private gun owners who have ever been in a position to try to do something about this – yet those guns are out there, every day, on the streets, doing…mostly nothing but riding comfortably in a holster. So in this case, the much-feared tide of (legal) guns (owned by legally-minded people, which part excludes this shooter) is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, the DGUs (including promises to use violence which persuade would-be perps to return to a peaceful posture) that routinely save lives go unremarked and are unknown by the general public.

      Yeah, Bloomberg’s definitely on the receiving end of the first-class treatment. I guess it’s okay to have a gun if you’re wearing Brooks Brothers and the gun (for somebody else, the gun I mean – but I don’t know if Brooks Brothers is classy enough for Hizzoner).

  19. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

    I think first we need to ask why the shooter chose that location? Most likely because he knew of the no-guns-allowed policy. So to answer your second question first, it matters in that the mere possibility of people carrying concealed could have potentially deterred the shooter from going there in the first place. We may never know if that’s true, but it’s my guess that he decided to carry out his rampage there and not some place else because of the unarmed (or should I say disarmed) population.

    I don’t know if an armed citizen could have stopped him from killing all those people, but my guess is that many of those deaths would have been prevented if people were able (allowed) to shoot back. Well, at least there would be a chance of preventing some of those deaths. But thanks to the geniuses who establish all these gun-free zones the victims could not fight back. So yes, it matters.

    1. avatar irock350 says:

      We do know he chose the location, and It did not yave anything to do with it being a gun free zone. It was because it was a movie theatre playing the new Batman movie. The shooter died his hair and told the cips he was the joker. The cinema was probably the largecoust seating and therefore most likely to have the highest body count. He could have carred less about the gun ban.

      1. avatar Steve says:

        Could you please link to the interview with the suspect where he states that he didn’t care about the theater’s gun free zone?

        No? Thought not…

      2. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

        Well of course HE did not care about the gun ban as it pertained to HIS actions. Criminals never do, hence why they’re criminals. BUT, the theater apparently had a gun ban, so law abiding citizens didn’t want to get in trouble by violating that policy, so they left their guns at home or in the car. Hence my comment about them being disarmed and that he must have known that.

        Now, if there was no gun ban and people were allowed to CC in the theater, would that deter him? I don’t know, but what I do know is that people would be able to fight back.

    2. avatar LongPurple says:

      I think he did care, and chose a “gun free / target rich” environment. He was smart enough to wear all sorts of body armor as well, just in case someone was able to shoot back — sort of a fiendishly clever “belt and suspenders” precaution.
      I would not be surprised to learn that Holmes researched Cinemark’s “no guns” policy and found it did not apply to off-duty police. This guy was smart enough to examine everything in planning this slaughter, and make provision for the possibility that an LEO was in the audience, or a CCW might have broken the rules.

  20. avatar Sig says:

    We don’t know whether an armed citizen could have stopped him. It was pretty clear, however, that unarmed citizens couldn’t–or at least, wouldn’t.

    On deadly ground, you fight.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      That’s a pretty good answer. I like that.

    2. avatar LongPurple says:

      +1
      We have definite evidence to prove that.

  21. avatar LC Judas says:

    To the first question, yes in theory. Taking 29 rounds of .357 Sig and using them with nightsights SOUNDS like a better idea than nothing and high velocity hollowpoints sting even if they don’t get through. Does that mean it could have worked? Yes. Would it if I had been there? Odds are stacked against your lone gunman using any civilian legal pistol ammunition that isn’t hot 10mm or heavier and faster. Uncommon carry loads to be sure and then expertly weilding it in the worst possible scenario, questionable.

    Does it matter? Yes. It means everything. Does the chance to fight change the course of history? Indoubitably. Jews slain with no recourse are far from the outnumbered fighters at the Alamo. Both were defeated by the enemy but one died fighting, embodying a legacy to do the same. The other is counted as the greatest singular human genocide event in recorded history. Take your pick as to which you would rather be a part of.

    1. avatar LongPurple says:

      +1
      Well said.

  22. avatar frefreeport56 says:

    To answer your first question,”Could An Armed Civilian Have Stopped the Batman Massacre Spree Killer?”
    Yes, without a doubt! He was wearing soft body armor a couple of rounds from a 9mm, .45 ACP, .40 Cal, or 10mm would have dropped him, but not killed him. A direct shot over the heart could have killed him.

    Does That Matter?
    Now, no. People have been killed and wounded and lives shattered. I agree about the Law suit against Cinemark. Their “No Firearms Allowed” policy left the theater, all theaters, a killing field!

  23. avatar Taurus609 says:

    I won’t use his name, or call him the shooter, crazy or a turd. I will call him what he is, and that is a COWARD! And everyone else should do the same when referring to him. When the media (print or TV) and blogs like this start calling people like him a COWARD, it takes away their notoriety, and shows them for what they are.

    1. avatar irock350 says:

      No it doesn’t. Calling him a coward doesnt diminish his acts, or prevent this from happening, it merely makes you feel better.

      1. avatar Taurus609 says:

        In their disturbed minds when they see something like this, they make these cowards out as folk heroes. If society as a whole referred to these “shooters” “gunmen” as what they really are, cowards, then it takes away some of the appeal. This coward seemed to relate to Heath Ledger in Dark Knight, and probably wanted to emulate his character, hence the hair and the fact that he shot his shotgun in to the ceiling just as the Joker did. He felt the Joker was his hero, and by copying his role, felt he was also a hero, even a badass. So why build up his delusional mindset, and those of similar mindsets with hero type names to boost their egos. And no, I’m not an expert on these things, just my opinion, and yes like a$$holes, we all have them!

  24. avatar Qajaqon says:

    Yes.

    With presence of mind, control of fears and flight, with thought and luck, some one could have stopped him, with or without a gun. But, there was no one who did so.

    It is all sad, gut wrenching……

    Nous Defions

  25. avatar ThatKenGuy says:

    I’m curious as to how what is a load bearing/carrying vest becomes body armor or “bullet proof.” I saw on CNN that there was a receipt for his ordering his tacti-cool mall-ninja stuff, where he paid ~$300 for his gear. With the “bullet proof vest” being Blackhawk’s Urban Assault Vest with a MSRP of $140. He would have paid around $1,500 for something effective against handgun calibers. Purchasing stuff that’s NIJ IIIA (handgun) rated has its hurdles to jump through, but isn’t difficult; just tends to be sold out.

    So, yes -provided he actually didn’t have NIJ IIIA/III armor. He could have been stopped by someone if they could effectively employ their CCW in the stress of the disruptive environment. Even someone that wasn’t armed could have taken advantage of his wearing a gas mask, if it wasn’t properly purged and sealed, and the reduced field of view.

    1. avatar matt says:

      …where he paid ~$300 for his gear… He would have paid around $1,500 for something effective against handgun calibers.
      I paid $325 for a surplus Ranger Body Armor vest (Level 3a) with a pair of SAPI plates on eBay. I xrayed the plates and they aren’t cracked.

  26. avatar Jfoster says:

    Absolutely. It changes the equation. One round, even into the armor, changes the shooter’s focus. Allows people to escape. Several rounds from different directions? Now your shooter is thinking about survival and focused on his attackers. More people escape. He’s not walking up the aisle executing people anymore. I’m thinking of the Hollywood bank robbery. The police were out gunned, but because they were there sending lead down range the BGs plans were blown. IMHO

  27. avatar Joel says:

    actually ,this whole armored spree killer thing got me thinking. I was planning to go with some sort of nine-millmeter when I came of age, but now I’m rethinking for this kind of scenario, and evaluating a much pricier, and possibly more armor-defeating Five-Seven would make a better “Food court” gun. any thoughts on this?

    1. avatar LC Judas says:

      Go with a 9x26mm, I think that is what 9mm Dillon is called. It converts down from 10mm Auto and a hot roundnose should get right through. Double Tap makes some loads that should work if you are worried about penetration and nothing else. The 5.7x28mm is available only in hollowpoint rounds that are unlikely to offer the penetration you’re speaking of.

    2. avatar Scott Henson says:

      Most of your body armor that these cowards are going to have will not stand up to even a 9mm. Focus on tight groups and a 9mm will pierce the body armor. The first round will be stopped, but subsequent rounds that hit in the same vicinity will pierce the vest and hit home. Even the first round will make the coward think twice and re-evaluate their priorities.

      1. avatar matt says:

        Most of your body armor that these cowards are going to have will not stand up to even a 9mm.

        Where can you even find a level 1 vest? It is easy to find used level 3a vests.

  28. avatar Jay says:

    If you are not going to allow arms in your theater then provide armed security to protect your customers.

  29. avatar irock350 says:

    Regardless of anyones rationalization or chest thumping, I dont think anyone In the audience would have had time or the ability to shoot back.

    The total engagement lasted a couple of minutes, so put yourself in the audience. It’s dark, hazy from the gas and gunsmoke, people all around you are moving In and out of your line of site and unless you went to the midnight movie alone, you have family or friends to be concerned about. Before the shooter even opened fire he was carrying tear gas, so may be your affected, may be not. You hear gun shots you have to first overcome flight, fight or freeze, get to cover, verify your safety and your friends or family, pull your weapon acquire your target in the dark through the smoke and then put the target in your sights assuming you can get a clear line of sight through all of the commotion.

    That is alot of work while taking fire. I doubt if anyone had a gun they could have deployed it effectively.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      so, since in your opinion nobdy would have been able to respond effectively people should be denied the right to even try. baa, baaa, says the bloomberg sheep.

      1. avatar irock350 says:

        I never said that anyone should be denied anything, I answered the question put forth with a rational assessment of the situation. I didnt randomly insult anyone or assert my super awesome keyboard commando killz. You dont have to be an asshat on the internet when faced with your own inferority. The guy used tactics employed by SWAT designed to confuse and disable potential threats. Unless you have been trained to overcome fight, flight or freeze, tear gass and operate in high density high stress environments it is unlikely anyone could reacted in enough time to prevent massive casualties.

        1. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

          I think tear gas made it much more difficult for anybody to fight back. It made a horrible situation even worse for the people inside the theater. However, even in a difficult environment, a person or persons with a CCW would at least have a chance to take him down. But because they were essentially disarmed, fighting back became almost impossible.

    2. avatar Scott Henson says:

      If I were there with my loved ones, I would prefer to move away from them firing at the coward. I’ll take whatever the coward wants to throw at me as long as I can keep his attention while my loved ones escape.

  30. avatar Coyote Gray says:

    Could an armed civilian have stopped this nut job, perhaps. Personally, as a man of darker complextion and ethnic features, I wouldn’t try it. I’m just as likely to become a target by a fellow 2A guy as I am to get shot by a mass murdering schmuck making his way through a movie theater. Dark theater, tear gas, screaming people running out….chaos. Pure chaos.

    Unfortunately, this country will turn this discussion to “gun control” as opposed to a much more analytical discussion about a deep festering disease rotting the core of this country, but that we are either too naive, too arrogant, or too stupid to have.

  31. avatar Silver says:

    Probably not in this case, but who cares? If a fire breaks out in your house and your household extinguisher fails to suppress it, do we wonder whether we should bother keeping fire extinguishers around?

    The simple fact is many, many situations can be resolved by an armed citizen. See the recent Florida OFWG. We don’t carry because it makes us invincible, we carry because, like any other tool, a situation may arise where that particular tool will be effective.

    And of course Bloomberg is against guns; the 2A was created to enable citizens to remove reprehensible tyrants like him from power. Too bad no one’s doing so.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      +1

  32. avatar ConradW says:

    There was plenty of time to return fire.

    Reports are the shooting started at 12:20. The first 911 call was 12:30 and then cops arrived in 90 seconds.

    The guy spent 10 minutes walking around shooting. I think if that 71 year old guy in Florida could chase those guys off, I think someone could have stopped this guy.

  33. avatar Greg Camp says:

    Bloomberg should note, there was an armed man in that theater that night. He happened to be an evil armed man, and we see how that worked out. What he did was already illegal. Guns were already banned. Is tear gas available everywhere? In some jurisdictions, body armor is regulated. And let’s not forget, we already discourage murder.

    The point here is that when the good guys are armed, as the man in Florida was, they have a fighting chance. Not a guarantee, but last I checked, the universe maintains a no refunds on returns policy no matter what the reason. I’d rather have something effective to use in fighting back. Will I get to use it in a given time and place and incident? That doesn’t matter. It’s about improving the odds, and we know that a gun in the hands of a good person does work often enough.

  34. avatar Scott says:

    Everyone seems to have forgotten what happened at New Life Church in Colorado Springs in 2007 when a madman showed up with an AR-15 and intent to kill as many as possible. He was stopped by one very brave Jeanne Assam and her Beretta 92. One can only speculate what the body count would have been in that situation. This incident should be raised by the gun community every time there is another massacre in a “gun free” zone.

  35. avatar tdiinva says:

    I am disappointed by the emotion driven responses to the question. We are supposed to be the rational ones. The answer to question is it depends on the tactical situation. VT? — yes. Giffords? — no. There were shooters present and they couldn’t ID the shooter. This case is also a no. Unless you are a SWAT OR SOF guy with the skills of the fictional Leroy Jethro Gibbs it’s not happening.

    1. avatar Taurus609 says:

      Gifford’s?-no. Who’s to say that if the fifth or tenth person in line had had a weapon as the coward was making his way down the line, couldn’t have stopped him before he shot anyone else. Yes they wouldn’t have been able to save everyone, but at least the carnage would have been less, and the coward would have possibly been dead. So I’m sorry, Gifford’s-YES!

  36. avatar Loyd says:

    Could an armed civilian have stopped the attack? Putting myself in that situation, with my CCW, in a dark room filled with tear gas (I’ve been in CS before, it sucks), vs an armored attacker with an AR? No matter how I run it in my mind that is a nightmare scenario.

    Does it matter?
    No. F that guy.
    “Lord, make me fast and accurate.
    Let my aim be true and my hand faster than those who would seek to destroy me.
    Grant me victory over my foes and those that wish to do harm to me and mine.
    Let not my last thought be ‘if I only had my gun’
    And Lord, if today is truly the day you call me home, let me die in a pile of empty brass.”

  37. avatar Greg in Allston says:

    Could an armed civilian have stopped the guy in this scenario? Probably not. Extremely unlikely even. Could an armed anybody stop a carefully planned suicide bomber? These kinds of events don’t lend themselves well to early defense or effective counter offense.

    So, does it matter? My first thought would be that, no, not really, it doesn’t really matter. To the very small degree that it does matter it’s really only in a very abstract and academic sense. It’s a little like complaining about the weather; everybody does it but no one has the power to do anything about it. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    In any totally insane, completely out of the blue, chaotic and violent situation that you may find yourself and your loved ones caught up in, your immediate thoughts should revolve around survival, evasion and escape. Protect yourself and your family as best you can. Seek cover and concealment. Try to assess where the hostile activity is coming from and move away from it if you can do so without unnecessarily exposing yourself danger. Keep your head. Reassess as the event unfolds. Keeping thinking and planning countermeasures. Keep the will to survive and never give up.

    1. avatar LeftShooter says:

      Well said…

      And for all of us, let us also remember to remember the victims.

      1. avatar Greg in Allston says:

        Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and their friends.

  38. avatar Mark says:

    7/21/2012 — FBI theater attack warning issued on May 17, 2012

  39. avatar Shiner says:

    This guy didn’t go there looking for a fight, he went to slaughter people. Even if an armed movie-goer didn’t stop him outright, just encountering armed resistance would have a good chance of causing him to retreat.

    If theaters, don’t want you to have guns there, fine, but they should be providing armed security and metal detectors.

  40. avatar The Pit Boxer says:

    Could An Armed Civilian Have Stopped the Batman Massacre Spree Killer?

    Definite maybe. More likely, it would have made a difference to the carrier and his or her family. When faced with a fight/flight scenario and no options to fight, usually you’re left with panic and run. Those who carry have options. Maybe that would have been to get the family down and assess the situation. Then determine the right time to run.
    I don’t carry so that I can stop a spree killing. I carry because I am responsible for my and my family’s safety.

  41. avatar Hawkeye says:

    This massacre was well planned. It said that the killer wore a bullet proof vest and a helmet, so an armed savior would have had to be aware of this and also be a sharpshooter to aim for the killer’s vulnerable body parts.
    All those hysterical liberals who want to take away the gun rights of law abiding citizens remember this – the Oklahoma City bomber did not use a gun to murder 168 people and wound another 800. He used a home-made pipe bomb.
    Guns don’t kill – bad people do.

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