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After Arizona and Aurora, will more guns make us safer?

This post was originally published on July 24, 2012.

We’ve resurfaced this piece following the news of a horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut this morning.

NBC News reports 26 have been killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including 20 children. Watch live as the events unfold.

In July 20 in Aurora, Colorado, 24-year-old James E. Holmes entered a sold-out midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” armed with an extensive cache of weapons and ammunition.

Donning body armor and a gas mask, Holmes carried a semiautomatic assault rifle, at least one .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun into the theater.

Weapons confiscated by police on display prior to a news conference in City Hall addressing the proliferation of illegal guns in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Mark Stehle

The roomful of moviegoers eagerly awaiting the highly-anticipated Batman sequel quickly degenerated into a nightmarish scene, as Holmes opened fire and began shooting indiscriminately, killing a dozen and wounding 58 others, many of whom remain in critical condition.

As the nation begins to grapple with this seemingly senseless act of violence, both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have avoided calls for new gun laws.

A long-time proponent of more stringent firearm regulations, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg admonished both the President and Governor Romney on the John Gambling show. “Soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it,” he said. “There are so many murders with guns every day; it’s just got to stop.”

In a statement, Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign echoed Bloomberg’s call. “This tragedy is another grim reminder that guns are the enablers of mass killers and that our nation pays an unacceptable price for our failure to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” he said. “We are outraged.”

Meanwhile, pro-gun activists contend that lessening impediments to legally carrying concealed weaponry may be the answer. Luke O’Dell of the Colorado-based group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners told the New York Times that, “Potentially, if there had been a law-abiding citizen who had been able to carry in the theater, it’s possible the death toll would have been less.”

Following the 2011 Arizona shooting – when shooter Jared Loughner killed six and left former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 13 others wounded – Need to Know sat down for a second time with proponents of the “Open Carry” movement, who contend that more guns on America’s streets will make us safer.

“It’s like a fire extinguisher. Until you have a fire, you don’t need it. But you have it,” said one open carry advocate in our report.

Watch Guns Battle: The Fight Over Gun Control Laws on PBS. See more from Need To Know.

Do you agree? Can fewer rules restricting concealed weapons improve our safety? Or should greater regulations be placed on obtaining guns in the first place?

Let us know your thoughts and questions by reaching out on Facebook, Twitter, or share your opinion in the comment section below.