Suspected Colorado movie theater gunman James Holmes purchased four guns at local shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the past 60 days, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told a news conference this evening.
“All the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally, all the weapons he possessed, he possessed legally, all the clips he possessed, he possessed legally,” an emotional Oates said.
The chief declined to say whether the weapons were automatic or semi-automatic, but “he could have gotten off 50 to 60 rounds, even if it was semi-automatic, within one minute,” Oates said.
In the wake of the latest mass murder in America, the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting spree, the usual talk about how insanely easy it is to acquire assault weapons and heavy ammo seems to fill every inch of air and space. In the wake of the Columbine shooting—talk, talk, talk. In the wake of theVirginia Tech shooting–talk, talk, talk. In the wake of the Fort Hood shooting—talk, talk, talk. In the wake of the Tucson shooting—talk, talk, talk. The analysis of the dozens of mass shootings in the past 30 years–talk, talk, talk. The consensus is that it’s too easy to stockpile the kind of weaponry crazy people use to massacre innocent human beings whose only deficiency is that they manage to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Immediately upon hearing the outcry, the National Rifle Association goes into defensive mode, taking their usual stance that guns don’t kill people, gunmen kill people, so you can’t blame the guns and you can’t blame the easy acquisition of those guns. because only a few gunmen are nuts enough to go out and shoot up a bunch of people. (The second most popular NRA stance is that if everyone was armed and ready, things like this couldn’t happen.)
Crazy, isn’t it? But here’s the craziest part: The NRA gets away with it. Every single time. All of America–or at least those in a position to do something about a runaway gun association–seems to be terrified of a powerful lobby whose only public position is advocating widespread use ofall types of guns and ammo, including repeaters, military-type assault weapons, “cop-killer” bullets, the whole shebang.
So here’s more talk–not that it’ll do any more good than the talk before it, but it has become obligatory now. We use it in place of actually doing something about the legality of assault weapons, the obligations of gun owners (and their associations), and the rights of those who fall victim to this irresponsible nuttiness:
- Bill Moyers on Living under the Gun
- Adam Gopnik on One More Massacre
- Russ Baker: Did you Hear about the Shooting?
- Michael Tomasky on the Country the NRA Wants to See
- Michael Daly on whether the NRA is Also Culpable
- E.J Dionne on The Gag Rule on Guns
- Daren Samuelsohn on Why Gun Lovers still fear Obama
- Digby on The Horror at Talking about Shooting
The website for the NRA’s lobbying arm, The Institute for Legislative Action, is here. If you can figure out a way to get them to pay attention to you without having to join the NRA, go for it.
And if you can figure out a way to get our politicians to pay attention this time, here is where you can reach them:
James Holmes bought four guns and 6,000 rounds of ammunition and went into a movie theater with the sole purpose of mowing people down. He might have had those same thoughts even if he hadn’t had access to guns capable of mowing people down as swiftly or efficiently as these did, but a madman with a single-shot rifle or even a six-gun couldn’t kill 13 and wound 70 people within a few minutes.
That’s what has to stop. That’s what the talk is all about.