The head of an American firearms lobbying group has said the shooting at a cinema in Denver, Colorado is an opportunity to "loosen up gun laws".
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America and a member of National Rifle Association, told BBC Radio 5's Stephen Nolan programme that anti-gun laws were "setting people up for this kind of disaster".
Mr Pratt told the programme: "It is very sad that there was a no-guns policy in that theatre and that nobody had thought to take a gun with them anyway.
"At a church in the same city four months ago something somewhat similar occurred but with a very different outcome.
"A dirtbag ran his car into another car in a church parking lot and stormed out of his car, killed a woman, and people were leaving the church at that time.
"So as soon as he did that somebody that had a concealed firearm drew down and killed the attacker, and his slaughter was put to rest immediately.
"So it is a clear take-away message from what happened, is 'don't go into gun-free zones unless you are willing to break the law'."
Asked about what New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's suggestion that the two presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, need to look again at gun laws, Mr Pratt told the programme he felt that was unlikely to happen.
He said: "I don't see the Congress getting involved with this.
"In fact I think this is going to be an opportunity for us to loosen up gun laws in this country.
"The idea that you tell people they've got to go into a public place without a firearm is setting them up for this kind of disaster.
"Most of our mass murders have occurred precisely where the criminal knew that he would find unarmed victims, and by and large he has been right."