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Batman Shooter Used a Gun that Was Banned Until 2004

As the gun advocates start issuing their reasons why any bans on assault weapons won’t reduce the killing of innocent people in the United States, a report in the Wall Street Journal pointed out that the gun used by Aurora theater shooter James Holmes and the amount of ammunition available to him actually was banned by the federal government until Congress let the ban expire in 2004.

Under a ban passed in 1994 during the Clinton Administration, there were federal restrictions on the sales of AR-15, the gun used by James Holmes. But the ban expired in 2004 under the Bush Administration and was not re-enacted.

There is still a ban in place in California, Holmes’ home state, against versions of the AR-15—but Holmes legally bought all three of his guns in Arizona, which has no such ban.

The previous federal law also would have restricted the ammunition to a magazine holding just 10 rounds, rather than the 100-round drum magazine that Colorado authorities said Holmes used in Aurora.

“This shooter was planning a military style assault and he chose a rifle that was designed for just such an attack,” Dennis Henigan, vice president of the Brady Campaign to Reduce Gun Violence, told the Wall Street Journal.

But gun advocates say that there are legitimate uses for the extremely popular AR-15, such as marksmanship competitions, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “And their cartridges are standard hunting calibers, useful for game up to and including deer,” the foundation’s fact sheet reads, according to the Journal.


Joe M. Cornell, a federally license gun dealer in Denver, told the Journal that on the day of the Aurora shooting, a friend called him asking about buying an AR-15 for his teenaged son. Cornell said the gun is not appropriate to hunt big game because of its low-caliber ammunition, but can be used to kill varmints, including coyotes, according to Mr. Cornell.

“If I had 100 AR-15s, in seven to 10 days, I could sell them all. They’re that popular,” he said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 2,293,247 rifles were made in the U.S. last year, an increase of 70 percent since 1998, but the ATF doesn’t break them down by types of rifles or how many are assault weapons.

States such as New Jersey, California, New York and Massachusetts, have bans on assault weapons—in fact, the Massachusetts ban was made permanent during the administration of then-Gov. Mitt Romney, who now says he opposes any new gun laws.

But while a national debate may be starting about banning assault weapons, don’t think that the talk is all in one direction. For instance, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert suggested that perhaps fewer people would have been shot if more citizens had guns and someone took Holmes down—particularly since Colorado law allows for the concealed carry of a firearm.

“It does make me wonder: With all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?” Gohmert asked during an appearance on a Heritage Foundation radio show.



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6 thoughts on “Batman Shooter Used a Gun that Was Banned Until 2004

  1. Jeffrey Jarriel says:

    Romney signed no such permanent "assault" weapons ban into law. Prior to Romney becoming Governor, the State Senate, during the Clinton administration imposed a ban the same time as the Federal Ban. What they didn't do was to include the same Federal "Sunset Clause" that Clinton did. Thus, when the legislation came back across Romney s desk, it was already permanent in Mass. That was the doing of the Anti-Gun Democrats. Romney had no choice, whether he signed it or not, it was already a permanent ban. In fact, not a single piece of Anti Gun legislation came across Romneys desk during his administration as Governor, and he didn't sign any. GOAL, the Mass NRA arm, worked hand in hand with Romney to institute many pro 2A, and Sportsman laws. The Liberals, who keep pushing their Anti 2A agenda, would have you believe that Romney is anti 2A as well, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Romney signed the most important piece of pro 2A legislation in Mass. since the AWB, in order to start reforming the liberals anti gun laws.

  2. Robert S. Vail III says:

    I'm thinking that since the Supreme Court rulings, and the repeal of the AWB, the Mass law against AWB has now become unconstitutional.

  3. "But gun advocates say that there are legitimate uses for the extremely popular AR-15, such as marksmanship competitions, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation."

    Actually there aren't really any sporting uses for the AR-15, but this is not the way the anti-gun zealots of this article seem to understand it.

    The second amendment was not devised to protect hunting and sports shooting, it was devised to ensure the population was armed so as to make the militia system viable (thus prevent or at least delay the creation of a large, standing Federal Army, seen as injurious to liberty), and most importantly, as the ultimate guarantor of the people's sovereignty against tyranny.

    The person who wrote this article is either disingenuous or stupid, or both. Which is it?

  4. Just a caveat to my own comment; I personally think American gun laws are far too lax, but so many commentators fail to understand that you cannot simply pass legislation tightening it up, you would need a constitutional amendment. Also, so many of these articles are asinine because they make arguments that are totally irrelevant; the real question is, do US citizens still require arms to defend their country from external invaders or internal oppression? If not, then how to go about repealing the 2nd Amendment, rather than these silly debates about sports shooting and hunting

  5. Jeffrey Jarriel says:

    AWB wasnt repealed. It simply had a sunset clause and wasnt renewed. After the 94 loss of the House to the Republicans the Dems had no desire to put it back in place and go through that again. The SCOTUS ruling in the Heller case actually allows the individual states to impose their own "reasonable" gun laws. It only stops complete bans, like the one against Washington, DC which is why the case was brought in the first place. So, the Massachusetts Senate imposed permanent AWB is legal. The Heller decision also concluded that Not everyone can own a gun, Guns cannot be carried everywhere, Certain restrictions on the sale of guns are allowed. Laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of firearms will most likely stand. Individuals do not have the right to carry certain types of guns, Just what kind of handguns may be possessed is not explicitly set forth in the opinion which means that semi autos with hi-cap magazines are still legal targets for banning by individual states and cities. Concealed weapons. Laws forbidding people to carry concealed weapons on their person (or in a place close at hand, such as the glove compartment of a car) probably remain valid, which means there will never be a National Constitutional Carry law and the states, cities and counties may continue to be "May issue" as opposed to "Will or Shall issue" jurisdictions. Basically, other than preventing states and other jurisdictions from completely banning firearms, it allows them to leave most all of the other anti 2A laws in place and also allows for the creation of new ones. Short of complete bans, the States and Cities can pretty much still do what they want.

  6. Jody Mundon says:

    All you liberal limp wrist gun grabbers can kiss my ass…you never get our guns lol…dream on idiots

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