As the communities of Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, seek a way forward after enduring mass shootings, our attention turns to solutions that would prevent such events from occurring again. Many believe if the victims had only had ready access to firearms, they could have disarmed the gunman and prevented these tragedies.

But the El Paso shooting occurred at a Walmart Store, and the Walmart Corporation, based simply on its market dominance, is one of the nation’s largest gun dealers. Each of its retail stores contains a substantial arsenal of weapons.

Why then didn’t those present at the El Paso shooting take advantage of the handguns, rifles and shotguns openly displayed on Walmart's sales floor? Well, in the chaos of the moment, one’s instincts reflexively focus on self-preservation and the shielding of loved ones, rather than attacking the shooter.

The shooter was successfully apprehended by local law enforcement, who have the training, discipline and tactical support needed to perform such a hazardous operation. So whatever we can do in the future to prevent a recurrence of such a tragic event, placing more guns in the hands of more people is simply not the answer.

Warren J. Gordon, Madison

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