Rick Perry reacts to Lafayette shooting: Let's bring more guns into movie theaters

Perry encourages Americans to carry the guns they are "legally obliged to carry" into gun-free zones

Published July 27, 2015 2:38PM (EDT)

Rick Perry                                    (Reuters/Jaime Carrero)
Rick Perry (Reuters/Jaime Carrero)

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said it "makes sense" to encourage Americans to carry the guns they are "legally obliged to carry" into gun-free zones like movie theaters. The former Texas governor said that Thursday night’s movie theater shooting in Lafayette, La., shows why gun-free zones are “a bad idea” and encouraged the use of more firearms to ward off future attacks, in an interview with CNN.

"I believe that, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity, or stop it before there's as many people that are impacted as what we saw in Lafayette," Perry told "State of the Union" host Jake Tapper on Sunday.

A man who had a history of mental illness and an arrest record was able to legally purchase a gun and opened fire in a crowded screening of Amy Schumer's comedy, "Trainwreck," killing two young women and injuring nine others before turning the gun on himself last week.

Gun-free zone are "a bad idea," Perry explained, reacting to this latest mass shooting. "I think that you allow the citizens of this country, who have appropriately trained, appropriately backgrounded, know how to handle and use firearms, to carry them."

"I think that it makes a lot of sense to send a message across this country," Perry insisted when Tapper pushed-back. "I don't know that a gun would have kept a gun out of the hand of the shooter in Lafayette, but you seem to be suggesting that a solution to the problem would be to allow patrons in the movie theater to bring guns with them into the movie theater," Tapper questioned.

"If we believe in the Second Amendment, and we believe in people's right to protect themselves and defend themselves, and their families," then Perry argued "it makes sense to me" to encourage they carry a weapon as they "are legally obliged to carry."

"That makes more sense than trying to keep the gun out of the hand of the person who had been involuntary committed to begin with," Tapper pushed once more.

Perry argued that more enforcement of the laws would be more effective than more expansive gun regulations. “Somebody didn't do their job in the standpoint of enforcing the laws that are on the books," he said. "I think we have the laws in place. Enforcement of those laws is what seems to be lacking, both in Charleston and here in Lafayette, Louisiana."

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Elections Gun Control Guns Lafayette Shooting Mass Shooting Rick Perry Trainwreck