Aurora theater reopens, gun control conversation

courtesy+of+Claire+Uygur+%2716+Multi+Media+Design+Class

courtesy of Claire Uygur ’16 Multi Media Design Class

 

courtesy of Claire Uygur ’16 Multi Media Design Class

Six months ago, the United States was blindsided by a random and deadly shooting that resulted in 12 casualties and 70 injuries in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. James Holmes, who opened fire at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises last July, has been charged with over 160 counts of murder and attempted murder.
Now, half a year later, Aurora tries to move forward, announcing the reopening of the movie theater where the shooting took place. Although one million dollars of renovations were made to the Century movie theater, the reopening has met with some blowback from families of victims. Victims and their families were invited to an evening service on Thursday, January 17, to mark the opening of the theater.
Although some argue that this was a necessary step in the healing process, others refused to attend the ceremony, citing “insensitivity.” According to The Huffington Post on January 17, the widow of 27-year-old victim Alex Sullivan, issued a statement calling the invitation and ceremony “disgusting and insensitive.”
Michael White Sr.’s son, Michael Jr., who was critically injured in the massacre, also decided not to intend. Michael White Sr. said, “With me, it’s like going to a cemetery and walking across somebody’s grave. I think it’s disrespectful to do that.”
Despite these opinions, the theater went on with the reopening.
Mayor Hogan of Aurora, according to The Huffington Post, commented on those who chose not to attend, “For those who don’t want to be there, who can’t be there, I understand and respect that. For us here, the larger community if you will, it is part of the healing process.”
This all adds buzz to the country’s gun control conversation that was sparked once again by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School this past December. President Obama, in response to the shooting and the consequential outcry for tighter gun laws, urged Congress to reinstate the 2004 assault weapons ban.
“To make a real and lasting difference, Congress too must act,” said the President, according to cbsnews.com. “And Congress must act soon.”
President Obama is asking Congress to instate stringent gun control laws, from mandated background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun, to a ban on military-style assault weapons. Additionally, the President is asking Congress to pass a ban on armor-piercing bullets as well as new gun trafficking laws. This, along with a four billion dollar plan to advance funding for police officers, could possibly be met with hostility from pro-gun advocates.
“I think that instating additional gun-control laws is the right thing to do,” Convent of the Sacred Heart junior Mo Leitner said, “I just don’t know if it’s possible considering the amount of people in our country who are so against any kind of regulations on their right to bear arms.”
In response to the shooting at Sandy Hook, the National Rifle Association looks not to restrict assault-grade weapons to prevent another mass shooting from happening, but to have some kind of armed guard protecting students.
“Every school in America needs to immediately identify, dedicate, and deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place right now,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said, according to www.policticususa.com. LaPierre offered the NRA’s full support in student and teacher training in developing a “National School Shield Emergency Response Program” for “every school that wants it.”
Passing the bill could be difficult, despite the momentum from the public after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook. The vast majority of Republicans, as well as a minority of Democrats, have traditionally been against gun control legislation, according to cbsnews.com. Although some will be more open to tighter gun-laws in the wake of the tragedy in Newton, Connecticut, the gun control legislation still has to pass through the Senate and, most importantly, the GOP dominated House of Representatives.
 
– Madeline Pillari, News Editor