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Culture & Politics

James E. Holmes Picked Gun-Free Theater

by Robert W. Hunnicutt   |  September 10th, 2012 41

Aurora, Colo., theater shooter James E. Holmes bypassed closer and larger theaters to commit his rampage, as reported by More Guns, Less Crime author John Lott. Hat tip to Clayton Cramer’s blog for pointing it out.

Out of all the movie theaters within 20 minutes of his apartment showing the new Batman movie that night, it was the only one where guns were banned. In Colorado, individuals with permits can carry concealed handgun in most malls, stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. But private businesses can determine whether permit holders can carry guns on their private property.

Most movie theaters allow permit holders carrying guns. But the Cinemark movie theater was the only one with a sign posted at the theater’s entrance.

A simple web search and some telephone calls reveal how easily one can find out how Cinemark compared to other movie theaters. According to and, there were seven movie theaters showing “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20th within 20 minutes of the killer’s apartment at 1690 Paris St, Aurora, Colorado. At 4 miles and an 8-minute car ride, the Cinemark’s Century Theater wasn’t the closest. Another theater was only 1.2 miles (3 minutes) away.

“There was also a theater just slightly further away, 10 minutes. It is the “home of Colorado’s largest auditorium,” according to their movie hotline greeting message. The potentially huge audience ought to have been attractive to someone trying to kill as many people as possible. Four other theaters were 18 minutes, two at 19 minutes, and 20 minutes away. But all of those theaters allowed permitted concealed handguns.”

Some have pooh-poohed the notion that an armed citizen could have done much to stop Holmes, and it certainly is the case that strong nerves and excellent marksmanship would have been required, but there are concealed carriers out there who have both.

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