In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Pearce criticized the people in the theater for a lack of courage and for not being armed, saying that if they had been, they could have saved lives. “All that was needed is one Courages/Brave [sic] man prepared mentally or otherwise to stop this it could have been done,” he posted:
Pearce is best known for having authored Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB1070. He was exposed just last week for writing hateful, racist emails about Latinos in his state.
When Pearce was inevitably called out by local media for his insensitivity, he walked back his earlier statements, saying that he meant that gun control laws were entirely to blame, and not the victims themselves:
While Cinemark does have a no firearms policy, it is highly unlikely that someone would have been able to take down the alleged gunman. He was heavily armed, in full protective gear, threw tear gas before he opened fire, and was in a dark, crowded theater. Armed law enforcement officers responded within 90 seconds, and in that time he injured or killed 70 people.