After the senseless massacre at the midnight premiere of the Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, a much-needed conversation around gun control laws has been reignited. In an article by The Atlantic, it was reported that "Batman" shooter James Holmes had over “6,000 pounds of ammunition and a 100-round magazine,” in addition to an assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, tactical body armor, hunting knives, and two .40 caliber handguns. Holmes was able to purchase of these items legally from sites like Tactical Gear and Cheaper than Dirt.
Knowing that Holmes had access to all of these weapons brings to light the ease with which anyone can purchase a deadly weapon. Although gun laws vary by state, most states do not have a gun ban. This means that the state does not require permits to own or carry a handgun, shotgun, or rifle. Even without the help of the internet, these weapons are not hard to find. Gun sales are booming –– the industry is worth around $4.1 billion –– thanks to the thousands of (legal) gun dealers across America. However, if finding a pawnshop, hunting store, or local gun dealer it’s too much effort, you can always just take a walk to your local Wal-Mart.
The mass retailer, Walmart, is one of the largest sellers of guns in the U.S. Although the chain store advertises its weapons for hunting and other outdoor sports, there is no way for the proprietor to control what the buyer does with the purchased gun. Some of the weapons sold at Walmart include the Remington 870 Express Tactical Shotgun, the same gun formally used by the military. Walmart also carries the Remington 700, a gun favored by the Marine Corps, Navy and Army. The Bushmaster M4A3 .223 REM 16" Patrol Carbine is a customer favorite and top-seller, it's also the same gun used by the Military during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That said, it is clear that the guns sold at Walmart are capable of inflicting an incredible amount of damage to whatever is on the other side of the barrel.
In such a brief span of time, the unprovoked Holmes shot 70 people, and brought America to a halt as it reeled from the aftermath of the shooting. Sadly, the Aurora tragedy only brings to light the grim reality of the consequences of lax gun control laws. Although the shooting is justly being called a "massacre," this incident only reflects a small percentage of the high number of deaths that stem from gun violence. In Chicago alone, three people were killed and dozens more hurt from another shooting the same weekend as the one in Aurora.
With that in mind, one can only hope that this heartbreaking event will only lead to a more hopeful future. One that does not include as many weapons, or at least, weapons not in the hands of those like Holmes.
Bushmaster M4A3 .223 REM 16" Patrol Carbine:
Remington 870 Express Super Magnum: