Re: Doubtful, I think
He had 1 rifle (AR15 type, not an AK), 1 shotgun and two pistols which he had hidden outside the fire exit and retrieved them after entering the theatre by the front door. He also had body armour and helmet in his stash.
Protecting the front door with any kind of scanner would not have been any help at all in this case unless someone can come up with an insanity and malicious intent detector.
Bad things happen and not all of them can be prevented unless we all spend our entire lives literally in cocoons.
For some reason our governments think we want them to protect us from everything and fail to realise that it is impossible.
As far as individual, concealed carry is concerned, if there were a half dozen citizens with pistols who returned fire they may or may not have succeeded in stopping the bad guy but there is a high probability that *they* would have been responsible for some of the innocent people shot. A packed movie theatre is not a good place to shoot and miss but missing is easily done shooting under extreme duress in the dark. There are numerous accounts of trained police officers finding that the nice tight centre-mass group that they can reproduce at the range over and over again does not happen when they are in a real life-or-death situation. Can you imagine trying to differentiate between the following:
1. A bad guy you have never seen before who is shooting an innocent you have never seen before.
2. An armed civilian you have never seen before shooting a bad guy you have never seen before.
3. A bad guy you have never seen before returning fire at an armed civilian you have never seen before.
Number 1 is easy, but only if you can see that the innocent has no weapon. 2 and 3 are indistinguishable when they suddenly appear in front of you.
People will bang on and on about how to avoid this in future. Some will advocate banning all firearms from the public (and the counter argument will be that only outlaws will have guns and there will nothing you can do to protect yourself) and others will argue that every responsible adult should carry a firearm every day (with the counter argument that you are making all the undetected insane people carry too). There will be innumerable arguments in between these extremes.
Firearms cannot be uninvented. If the guns used in this case had been illegal, would the victims be any less badly hurt? Remember, when the UK banned self loading rifles – that was in response to the Michael Ryan shooting spree in Hungerford in 1987 – he used a pistol for most of his victims. About a decade later, Thomas Hamilton went nuts in a Dunblane school with some pistols so the government banned pistols. Within a year of the pistol ban Jill Dando (a BBC TV presenter) was shot dead with a rifle banned a decade earlier. Jill Dando still suffered the same whether the rifle used was legal or not.
If you are going to disregard the law prohibiting trying to kill people you are quite unlikely to be overly concerned with the prohibition of the method you choose.
There will be arguments for mercy because the man was insane. I cannot fathom anyone not insane unilaterally deciding to shoot 71 people he or she does not know.
At the end of the day this gunman is responsible for his actions. Do not blame the people who sold him the guns. Do not blame anybody else that has guns. Do not blame the governments who have led the public to believe that all bad things can be stopped by greater and greater restrictions on freedoms.