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News Link • General Opinion

Aurora’s Arsenal, Explained: Feds Can’t Track Stockpiled Guns

•, By Spencer Ackerman
 As the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado demonstrated, chances are federal law enforcement, homeland security and counterterrorism agents won’t see you amassing an arsenal of assault rifles, handguns and ammunition.

Longtime law enforcement and intelligence veterans say that the feds simply don’t have ways of spotting stockpiles of firearms. It stands in contrast to their successful post-9/11 efforts at stopping the spread of bomb precursors like chemical fertilizer.

There is no watchlist that captured Aurora suspect James Eagen Holmes, who appeared in court on Monday, as he spent thousands of dollars on AR-15s, Remington shotguns, Glock pistols and body armor. Holmes did much of his ammunition shopping online, where he purchased thousands of bullets and hundreds of shells with what the New York Times called “a few keystrokes.”

In short, one of the most useful tools for killing people is effectively excluded from the attention of federal agents who have received sweeping powers over the last decade to prevent mass-casualty events. “I don’t know of anything” about Holmes’ gun purchases “that would’ve notified law enforcement as a matter of policy right now,” says Jack Cloonan, a retired FBI counterterrorism agent.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Martin Birk
Entered on:

 Let me get this right Mr. Ackerman... you believe that more information (by whatever means are necessary) in the hands of the government, in this case pertaining to what type and how many guns people own, will somehow lead to a safer society?  An interesting perspective but a very dangerous one.  History has shown over and over again that this information is used to disarm law-abiding people, not stop the whacked-out, evil, nut-cases that perpetrate mass executions.  And by the way, guess who is responsible throughout history for the most grieveous mass murders on the planet?  Yup... government, including our own if you include what happened at places like Wounded Knee and Sand Creek.  Get real.  The tragedy in Aurora happened for two reasons: 1) An evil-nut-case person took advantage of the freedoms many of us enjoy and would die to defend, resulting in the deaths of 12 innocent people and unspeakable carnage. 2) The theater where this happened had a posted "no weapons" policy which may have very well added to the selection of this venue by the aforementioned nut-case.  In any regard many of the patrons present that night may have chosen to honor this policy even though Colorado is a right-to-carry state. I wonder how many people in that theater had a lawful permit to carry and left their gun at home or in their vehicle?  Maybe the owners of that theater need to have their britches sued-off by the families of the victims and anyone else who is so inclined.  One armed citizen might have made all the difference in the world.  We will never know.

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