Andrew Jensen joined the military after students from nearby Columbine High transferred to his Littleton, Colo., school after the 1999 massacre. At the time, he wanted to help protect his family and friends. Yet he wasn’t in Aurora, Colo.—where his dad and brother now live—when James Holmes opened fire in a movie theater less than a mile from their homes. “After years of training and war, I’m left wondering: can you ever really protect people you care about?” writes Jensen in the New York Times. In particular, can you protect them by carrying a gun—often an argument of gun rights advocates in the wake of tragedies like these?
No, you can’t—not unless you want to keep your weapon "closer than I kept my weapon in Iraq," he contends. You’ll “need a gun at soccer practice, at church, at Batman movies. That’s the only logical choice. And civilian life will feel almost like being in Iraq,” he writes. But even then, it may not make a difference: Jensen wonders whether even he, “a trained rifleman,” would have been able to take Holmes down through tear gas in a chaotic, confusing situation, without hurting anyone else. “Constantly carrying weapons is harder than it sounds,” and it is not the answer, Jensen concludes. Rather, it’s time to ban semiautomatic weapons. Click for his full argument.