East Texans react to mass shootings in Colorado movie theater

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Texas is one of only a handful of states that still does not allow guns to be openly carried. Some East Texans feel having the ability to carry a handgun inside of a theater would allow them to take out the shooter before the situation escalated, if a mass shooting like the one in Aurora, Colorado, were to happen in Texas.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's our right to carry a gun. And, I think everybody should," said Managing Partner, Billy Pate, of Bill's Gun Trader.

Pate is one of many East Texans who defends his constitutional right to bear arms.

"Depending on the circumstances involved, but basically I think that Americans should have the right to bear arms," said gun owner, Richard Donovan, of Lufkin.

Pate has been in the business of selling guns in Lufkin for more than three decades. He feels in today's society, guns should be allowed everywhere.

"I really can't see any places it should be prohibited," said Pate.

After Thursday night's shooting at the Century 16 Movie Theater in Aurora Colorado, Pate says carrying a gun is a necessity.

"For protection, that's the main reason, self protection," said Pate.

According to opencarry.org, Texas, is one of only six states in the country that do not allow gun owners to openly carry guns. Pate and others say the shooting may have held a different outcome if others had been able to fire back at the shooter.

"It could very well have turned out differently, not that somebody might not have been killed. But, if somebody had a gun, they could have killed him before he killed as many as he did," said Pate.

"If people were allowed to bear arms, somebody in there should have shot the guy," said Jeff Kersh of Alto.

Still, others, like Lufkin City Councilman Victor Travis, say more guns may have not helped the situation. Travis feels a movie theater should be a safe place he can turn to for entertainment without fearing his life.

"I would hope that when I go in a theater, I'm going in to enjoy myself and not to be frightened," said Travis.

While Travis isn't against having a gun, he says schools and movie theaters are places that should continue to restrict them.

"There are some places that just don't need for a gun. I don't really think you need a gun in a theater," said Travis.

As for showings at local movie theaters on Friday, it appeared to be business as usual. Calls to local and corporate offices regarding heightened safety measures were not immediately returned.

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