Loose definition of ‘arsenal’ fans anti-gun zealots following Aurora shooting

July 31, 2012

44 Magnum gun

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

The term bandied about the Aurora massacre is the “arsenal” of guns and ammunition stockpiled by shooter James Holmes. What do those terms really mean?

Ed Ingold can’t define an arsenal other than the one he knew growing up located close by in Rock Island, Illinois, or in relation to the hundreds of old muskets he saw in the old Governor’s Mansion in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In media terms, an arsenal can be composed of as few as two guns confiscated from a bad guy.  With such a loose meaning of what constitutes an arsenal, the usage of the word is able to be brandied about by some on the Left as language that fits what they believe but which is certain to generate the desired public sentiment against legal gun ownership.

The Aurora police indicated Holmes purchased over 6000 rounds of ammunition divided evenly between a Glock .40 cal handgun and a .223 Remington AR rifle. While this may seems like an extraordinary amount to purchase at one time, a large purchase of weapons or ammunition is not going to raise read flags from a dealer.  Enthusiasts tend to buy ammunition in bulk to save money.

Another reason for purchasing ammunition in bulk is that there are periodic shortages due to production schedules and events in national politics. Until quite recently, much of the production of .223 ammunition was going to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Starting in 2008, a politically-induced shortage lasted for 1-1/2 years in anticipation of a liberal push to restrict guns and ammunition.

Fortunately the push toward gun restriction never came to fruition during Obama’s presidency, despite the fact that Democrats held an overwhelming majority of seats in Congress.  Nevertheless the Democratic stance against guns in 2008 did result in many lost seats in Congress that year.

The quantity of ammunition acquired by Holmes would not have raised a red flag.  Ingold relates that the typical gun enthusiast will use about 200 rounds a month in one or more calibers. That amounts to 2400 rounds a year. Someone training for competition will use 20 to 30 times that amount, or more. If you have the money, you might buy it all at once, rather than pay higher prices for smaller quantities with the risk of finding empty shelves.

Obviously shooter James Holmes was not an “enthusiast” in the constructive sense, but misfits in society don’t wear signs around their necks announcing the why, the when, or the what of the demented thought and ideas that are cursing through their minds.

The attempt to pass measures to limit the manner and quantity of ammunition purchases will only results in more harassment directed toward legitimate gun owners. Proponents of rationing ammunition, or the levy of draconian taxes, care only about placing  limits on gun ownership in a manner not addressed in the Constitution, nor affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Things are not always what they seem.  Gasoline was rationed during WWII to protect rubber, which came from areas controlled by the Axis. There was actually an ample supply of petroleum, despite needed for military use, because it was produced domestically. Dependence on the Middle East came well after the war.

In an ironic sense, rationing ammunition is based on the Gillette theory that people who own razors will need blades. By not selling “blades”, the anti-gun proponents hope to get rid of “razors.”

Buying ammunition can be done quite easily, but carrying the ammunition once purchased becomes another issue.  3000 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition weights over 100 pounds. The same amount of .223 Remington (5.56×45 NATO) weighs about 90 pounds.

By comparison, a US soldier in the field is expected to carry up to 660 rounds of ammunition for his rifle, which weighs about 25 pounds including the magazines, which hold 20 or 30 rounds.

The 100 round “drum” magazine carried by Holmes is not used in combat. The loaded magazine weighs over 7 pounds, which is a lot added to a 6 pound rifle.  Additionally the magazine used by Holms was cheaply made, bulky and unreliable, as witnessed by the jam encountered by Holmes in his rampage. This may have actually saved lives in the theater.

People buy ammunition over the internet, because local distributers seldom have enough of a single caliber or brand. The internet is not a dodge around state and Federal law. On-line sellers of ammunition on-line are bound by the state law of its destination and must deliver it to a name and street address, not a drop box or post office.

Firearms purchased on-line must be shipped to the holder of a Federal Firearms License (FFL), who must have the buyer fill out form 4473 in person, per Federal law, and execute a background check.  If the state requires a waiting period, it begins at this point.  It is no different than buying a firearm from a local gun store.  Anonymous purchases guns and ammunition are a fiction of the liberal media.

The “bullet proof outfit” James Holmes allegedly purchased from www.tacticalgear.com, as released by the Aurora police, cost less than $300, for which you get a tactical (tacti-cool) outer vest without any armor. Soft armor would add at least $500 to the cost and $10,000 or more for full body protection. According to the Huffington Post,  “Police say James Eagan Holmes, 24, was dressed in body armor and toting three guns when he opened fire…”

This body armor statement was published without qualifications or fact checking.  On review of the facts, Holmes was dressed up in what looked like tactical armor, but was in fact, a costume. Accordingly, one well-placed shot from a concealed carry weapon holder in the audience would have punched his ticket and ended the massacre.

Unfortunately the theater is posted as a gun-free island in a state which allows concealed carry. One should ask, exactly how did that work out? The demography of a midnight audience for a fantasy movie is probably not likely to include many people licensed to carry weapons. However, the restriction did little to deter the one who mattered and who came equipped with guns and ammunition.  After all, criminals and psychopaths are not particularly fussy about which laws they violate.

A quick primer on the Second Amendment can be found at http://www.saf.org/default.asp?p=gunrights_faq where gun ownership is defined as much of a civil right as freedom of speech, religion and freedom of the press.  As such the right to own a gun to defend ones self is a basic human right.  Target shooting has always been very popular in the United States.  On the sporting aspect of things, guns are also a vital part of hunting.  Hunting, again, is a very popular pastime.

Those who wish to commit crimes will always be able to access guns often through nefarious means.  In Holmes’ case an assault rifle, as well as a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and two .40 caliber Glock handguns were purchased legally along with ammunition.  Just because Holmes fell through the cracks and managed to purchase both legally, should not form the basis for a renewed call to ban assault weapons from responsible Americans all because of an isolated incident involving a crazed individual.

Ordinary .22LR ammunition, barely beyond the “Red Ryder” class of weapons, has few restrictions anywhere, even though that caliber is just as lethal  at short range as an M16, and is used in more homicides than any other caliber.

When the U.S. Constitution was initially written there was much debate over whether or not to include a list of specific rights.  There were those who wisely concluded that specific freedoms had to be set down to keep them from being take away by an overactive federal government.

With a nation that is steadily advancing toward a Nanny state where its people seem willing to allow the government to make decisions telling them what they can or cannot do, the Second Amendment must be protected at all costs.  The day may come when liberty and freedom-loving Americans will see the need to rise up and protect themselves from a dictatorial and oppressive government to save this nation from the unjust rule of a dictator.

Doug Patton, a free lance writer whose weekly columns are syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate, asks us to “Remember that 100 million gun owners didn’t kill anyone last week.  They are the good guys.  They are on our side.”

As Thomas Jefferson stated in the early days of our nation:  Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.”



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