A Mass Shooting Survivor Pushes For Gun Control in Wake of Colorado Tragedy

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Someone once looked me in the eye and told me that if had I been carrying a gun in my backpack the day I was shot at the Jewish Community Center, I would have been a real hero. That I would have saved a man's life and none of the kids would have bullet holes in their bodies.

Those advice givers were not there. They cannot even begin to know what it was like in that center or what it was like at Virginia Tech in 2007 or in that Aurora, Colorado movie theater last week. They cannot tell me with 100% certainty that they would have done a better job than us during those terrifying times in our -- not their -- lives. To those people I would like to say a few things. What about the risk that my five-year-old campers could have taken the gun out and shot their other children?

Or take the tragedy at last Friday’s midnight screening of Batman -- the shooter was in head-to-toe body armor. Say, for instance, someone in the theater had a gun and shot back. With all the chaos that was going on -- tear gas in the air, sound from the film and screams of the victims -- would anyone have realistically been able to get close enough to him to make a dent, let alone make him stop shooting? Nope. Could the police determine that there was only one real credible threat inside that theater? Nope. And let's say if there were multiple weapons being drawn by theater patrons trying to "save the day," how many more than the 71 victims could have been shot? Hundreds. How many more than the 12 would be dead? Too horrible to try and count. If the shooter was killed himself, would we know that there were explosives in his home and to not barge in? Nope.

People are now saying that they are afraid to go to the movies. That fear will undoubtedly wear off in a few days or weeks. What I'm more worried about is that more people might start carrying weapons everywhere they go. Who would feel safe at the movies, knowing anyone around you could be armed at any moment? What if they fired at anyone who comes in late, or that annoying guy who accidentally leaves his cell phone on?

The reality is we have insanely lax gun laws, at both the state and federal levels. In certain states, including Colorado, people who should be receiving a full psychiatric evaluation before owning a gun can easily walk into their local sporting goods store and buy -- not just a hunting rifle -- but multiple assault weapons (including one with a 100 round capacity magazine) and shoot over 70 people in a few minutes time with only having to pass a 30 second background check with a flash of a drivers license. And the regulations may be even looser at gun shows. For more information about individual state gun laws as well as federal laws, please visit the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence website.

The Second Amendment clearly states:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Isn’t the U.S. military a well-regulated militia? What about the police department? And besides, why does an average citizen on the street need an assault rifle with a 100-round magazine? The entire intent with this weapon is to kill people, and kill a lot of people. There is no need for this and we as a society have the right to live in a country that creates laws preventing those from owning these types of weapons. THIS IS COMMON SENSE.

If you think about it, the concept that we are taking away the rights of Americans by stricter regulations in the purchase of weapons or magazines is wrong. By that line of argument, any limitations of weapons is an infringement. What about nuclear warheads? Limiting our opportunity to own that type of weapon is a technical infringement on our right to bear arms. But most people can understand the rationale behind this limitation, so why not other military-style weapons? The concept is common sense. While we should have a right to bear arms, laws to regulate what weapons we can own do not infringe on that right.

We cannot be afraid of the bullies of the NRA or anyone else who thinks they can understand what happened to us victims more than we do. We cannot be complacent when they say if they were in our shoes they would have “taken care of the situation.” We cannot sit idly by and allow citizens of this country be fooled into thinking that the right to bear arms supercedes our right to live. And we now sit in constant fear that the person next to us can kill us at any moment, because all he has to do is walk into a local sporting goods store.

Please take a moment today and leave a message at (202) 456-1111 for President Obama, and tell him that you've had enough! It will only take a minute and you can tell him that you are sick and tired the 32 people murdered every day by gun violence because of easily accessible deadly weapons that made Friday’s tragedy in Colorado possible. Ask him to do what's right and speak up in favor of common sense gun laws that can help save American lives.

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