Saturday, July 21, 2012

This Is How The Colorado Shooter Was Armed -- And Sadly It Was All Legal

When you picture someone who is dressed and armed for self-defense and conceal carry, what do you picture?  I picture someone dressed normal, except for a handgun strapped under their jacket or in a holster at their waist or in their purse.

When you picture someone who is dressed and armed for hunting, what do you picture?  I picture someone in rugged outdoor clothes, a hunter-red vest and hat, and a long rifle.

From the Denver Post online.
When you see the picture to the right, does this fit either of those images?

To the gun lobby, this picture is an image of "freedom" and self-defense.

James Eagon Holmes, the young man who opened fire on a crowded theater of men, women, and children, who killed 12, wounded another 58, and terrorized hundreds, and who set booby trap bombs all over his apartment, was dressed and armed like this, according to an article in the Denver Post today.

From the article (I've added bolding):
He also came dressed for battle, wearing a gas mask, a combat helmet, a ballistic vest and armor protecting his legs, throat and groin.
Law enforcement officials said Friday that they are investigating whether James Eagan Holmes, the 24-year-old suspect, was legally eligible to own all those weapons and combat gear. But they had found no evidence of a criminal history that would have prohibited him from buying the weapons used to massacre moviegoers at a midnight Batman premiere in Aurora.
His only run-in with police: an October 2011 speeding ticket.
Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates said Holmes brought a pair of .40-caliber Glock pistols, an AR-15 military-style rifle and a Remington shotgun to the Century Aurora 16 complex, but it was unclear whether he used them all as he strode through the theater, shooting people apparently at random. One Glock pistol was found in his white Hyundai when police arrested him outside the car, he said. Oates said Holmes purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition and multiple magazines, including a drum magazine able to hold 100 cartridges, from stores and on the Internet.
Oates also said investigators have not yet determined how many shots were fired or how many gun magazines were brought to the theater to carry out the midnight massacre.
But "many, many rounds were fired," he said.
According to one law enforcement source, the gunman could easily have shot police officers as they approached because of all his combat gear but sat calmly by his car instead.
The AR-15 is a semi-automatic version of the military M-16 rifle, first marketed for civilian sales in 1963.
Glock, an Austrian gunmaker, has become the leading seller of semi-automatic pistols to U.S. law enforcement agencies and offers a variety of .40-caliber pistols to civilians as well.
The Remington Model 870 is a U.S.-made pump-action shotgun used by the public for sport shooting and hunting and is often carried by law enforcement and military personnel.

Holmes purchased all of his weapons legally, passing background checks, and purchased the thousands of rounds of ammo online.

What do you think of when you see that image?  I think of military special forces or SWAT teams.  Yet everything he wore or was armed with was completely legal to purchase and possess in America.  In some places, such as Arizona, where unlicensed "open carry" is allowed, you can walk down the street dressed and armed this way, and there's not a thing the police can do to stop you.

Is this the cost of our "freedoms," as the NRA defines them?

It's time to put a limit on what dangerous people are able to buy in the United States.  It's time to re-instate the Assault Weapons Ban, prohibit high-capacity ammo clips, and better regulate large sales of ammunition and weaponry.

ADDENDUM:  For details about the guns used, see this article at The Truth About Guns blog.

UPDATE (8/5/12):  To the right is another graphic from a National Post article, which better illustrates the armament and ballistic equipment used by the shooter.