Conservative politicians and gun rights advocates have so far refrained from calling on Americans to carry even more guns in response to Friday’s attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The oft-repeated argument that everyone would be safer if more people simply carried guns could be heard following several recent mass murders. After a gunman killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre famously said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” and called on schools to hire armed guards.
More recently, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used the same reasoning when speaking of the terror attacks on Paris, implying that if people in the theater that two terrorists barraged with gunfire for 10 minutes on Nov. 13 had been armed, not as many might have died.
But that argument has been conspicuously absent from the public discussion following Friday’s shooting, which left three dead and nine others wounded at the clinic. The suspect, Robert Lewis Dear Jr. surrendered to authorities at the end of a five-hour standoff.
So far, politicians have held back from saying more guns would have protected the victims. This time, Trump said the gunman was a “maniac” but stopped short of suggesting expanding access to guns as a strategy to prevent future attacks.
Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who led a failed congressional effort to defund Planned Parenthood last summer, expressed his condolences to the victims’ families on Twitter but avoided any mention of his own efforts to secure gun rights across dozens of states.
Praying for the loved ones of those killed, those injured & first responders who bravely got the situation under control in Colorado Springs
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 28, 2015
President Barack Obama called for stricter controls on guns in response to Friday’s tragedy, a plea he has made on repeated occasions throughout his administration, from the aftermath of the massacre at a black church in Charleston to the slaughter of a dozen people at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, to the murder of nine others who were killed in class on a college campus in Roseburg, Oregon.
"If we truly care about this -- if we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience -- then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them," the president said in a statement.