By Tanya Basu
July 26, 2015

Rick Perry believes Thursday night’s movie theater shooting in Lafayette, La., shows why gun-free zones are “a bad idea,” in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union and said it “makes a lot of sense” to allow guns in movie theaters.

“I think that you allow the citizens of this country, who have been appropriately trained, appropriately backgrounded, know how to use firearms, to carry them,” Perry told host Jake Tapper. “If we believe in the second amendment and if we believe in people’s rights to protect themselves and their families—to tell them they cannot carry a weapon that they are legally obliged to carry, that they have been through the training for, makes no sense to me.”

John Russell “Rusty” Houser entered a showing of Trainwreck on Thursday night and opened fire with a handgun that he had legally obtained from a pawn shop. Houser shot 11 people, killing two, before fatally shooting himself.

Perry, a former Texas governor and now a Republican presidential contender, said gun laws were in place, but enforcement was the issue, saying that current laws should have prevented Houser, who had a history of mental illness and a criminal record, from obtaining a gun.

But Perry remained steadfast in his belief that had theatergoers had been allowed to carry guns into the movie theater, the tragedy might have been lessened or even prevented. “I believe, 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,” he said.

 

Write to Tanya Basu at tanya.basu@time.com.

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