Gary Johnson: Colorado Theater Shooting Might Have Been Prevented If Moviegoers Had Guns

Gary Johnson said the takeaway from the Colorado shooting is that more people should carry guns.

By + More

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson told Whispers Tuesday that the Aurora, Colo. shooting, which left 12 dead and dozens injured, might have been prevented if moviegoers had been armed.

"The prevention for Aurora is law-abiding citizens having weapons that they carry, lawfully, with concealed weapons permits," he said. "For myself personally, that was my takeaway. That I need to get my concealed carry permit so that... if I am in a situation like that, number one that I have a chance, and two that I could potentially bring something like that to an end."

Johnson said he believed that "nobody wants to hear that being the solution."

He also said he was "not suggesting that everyone have to mandatorily carry weapons" or that he would sign legislation to make that happen.

"But if everyone had to mandatorily carry weapons," he asked, "would there have been 72 people shot at in that theater?"

Johnson did not address the fact that suspected shooter James Holmes was wearing all black clothing along with bulletproof ballistic gear in the darkened theater or that he set off gas canisters during the shooting.

But Johnson echoed a similar response to the shooting from Republican former Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, who wrote on his Facebook page last week: "Had someone been prepared and armed they could have stopped this 'bad' man from most of this tragedy."

After criticism from the Arizona Republic, Pearce removed the comments from his page.

Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Gary Johnson Could Appear in Presidential Debates
  • Photos: Aurora mourns shooting victims
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.