2012 Aurora shooting

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The 2012 Aurora shooting was a mass shooting that occurred at a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012. The perpetrator was James Holmes.




  • The truth is made worse by the reality that no one--really no one--anywhere on the political spectrum has the courage to speak out about the madness of unleashed guns and what they do to American life....
    The reality is simple: every country struggles with madmen and ideologues with guns, and every country--Canada, Norway, Britain--has had a gun massacre once, or twice. Then people act to stop them, and they do--as over the past few years has happened in Australia. Only in America are gun massacres of this kind routine, expectable, and certain to continue.
  • The four weapons that authorities say were used in the massacre at a Colorado theater showing of the latest Batman movie included a popular semiautomatic rifle, a .223-caliber assault-style rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. The suspect also had two .40-caliber Glock handguns and a 12-gauge Remington Model 870 pump shotgun. In the past 60 days, police said, Holmes bought more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition, at gun shops and over the Internet, including:
    * 3,000 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition for the rifle. It was described as an AR-15-type weapon built by Smith and Wesson.
    * 3,000 rounds of .40-caliber ammunition for the Glock handguns.
    * 300 rounds for the shotgun....
    Officials told NBC News that all four were purchased legally, beginning in May, from two national chain stores: Gander Mountain Guns and Bass Pro Shops.
  • Virginia Tech. Gabby Giffords. Now Aurora, Colo.
    The names and places are linked by tragedy, death and the Glock semiautomatic handgun.

    The young men who carried out these mass shootings — and analysis says such killers are almost always male and most often young — all counted at least one of these versatile, easy-to-fire pistols in their arsenals....
    Like other mass shootings, Friday’s attack sparked calls for more gun control.
  • Even as we come to learn how this happened and who's responsible, we may never understand what leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings. Such evil is senseless – beyond reason. But while we will never know fully what causes someone to take the life of another, we do know what makes that life worth living...The people we lost in Aurora loved, and were loved. They were mothers and fathers; husbands and wives; sisters and brothers; sons and daughters; friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and dreams that were not yet fulfilled. And if there's anything to take away from this tragedy, it's a reminder that life is fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters in the end are not the small and trivial things which often consume our lives. It's how we choose to treat one another, and love one another. It's what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose. That's what matters. That's why we're here.
  • The three types of weapons used by the man accused of killing 12 people in a Colorado movie theater — a semiautomatic variation of the military’s M-16 rifle, a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun and at least one .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol — are among the most popular guns available in the multibillion-dollar American firearms market...It appears, the police say, that James E. Holmes, the man accused in the Aurora shootings, used all three types of weapons inside the theater as well, first firing the shotgun, then using the semiautomatic rifle until its 100-round barrel magazine jammed, and finishing off with a pistol.
    ...much of the public and political attention has been focused on the potential deadliness of the semiautomatic rifle, which law enforcement officials identified as a Smith & Wesson M&P15. The rifle belongs to a class of weapons broadly known as AR-15s, after the original civilian version of the rifle....
    The M&P15 also comes in a variety of models that fire different sizes of ammunition, from .22-caliber to .30-caliber rounds. The rifle used in Aurora fired .223-caliber ammunition, law enforcement officials said.
    Those rounds — similar to the ammunition used in American M-16 and M-4 rifles — are smaller than the rounds fired by Afghan insurgents wielding Kalashnikov rifles, but pack far more power than .22-caliber rounds, even though they are only a hair’s-width larger in circumference.
  • There was a law called the Federal Assault Weapons Ban [signed in 1994], but the law was written with an expiry date and Congress let it expire in 2004. That law banned possession of certain types of assault weapons, including the weapon James Holmes used in Aurora last week. The law banned possession of large-capacity bullet clips, so people could only purchase guns that could hold 10 bullets. But since the law expired in 2004, Holmes was able to use a weapon that held 100 bullets at a time. It’s like something out of a science fiction novel, frankly.
  • If this coward could have done this with this much hate, imagine what we can do with this much love.
  • People see cases like this and say 'it's really terrible but let's not change our gun laws'...I think Americans have simply come to learn to accept this level of violence and many don't realize that most other developed nations don't have this kind of problem. It's easy to say this is the price you pay for our freedoms when it's not your child or your neighbor or your friend.
  • Millions of theater goers packed movie houses all over the country on July 20 for the opening night screenings of The Dark Knight Rises. But in Aurora, Col., before the opening credits even rolled, deadly and uncinematic terror was visited on the audience when James Eagan Holmes, a 24-year-old University of Colorado dropout, allegedly walked into the Century 16 multiplex from an emergency exit. He reportedly threw a noxious gas bomb into the auditorium, then brandishing a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle, a Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun and two Glock 22 handguns, opened fire, killed 12 people and wounded 58.


  • The AR-15 is, essentially, a gun that was designed to inflict maximum casualties, death, and injury, in close to medium range. That's what it does. The real problem is that we allow that kind of firepower to come into a theater or into a first-grade class. The names you see now are 'modern sporting rifle,' 'tactical rifle.' Those are all just euphemisms for 'assault weapon.' They're being very rational as marketers and as businesses—and as industries. They're only doing what cellphone companies do to make cellphones look different and be more attractive. The difference is what they're selling is lethality.
  • I think that in the long term, the nation is going to reject this unbridled kind of gun culture. But I think it's going to take a long time. Colorado is a true test for those actually in the trenches, but it might also be a wake-up call -- nothing is easy, and pouring money in from Bloomberg is not a magic solution.


  • A bullet leaves the barrel of a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 traveling at 3,000 feet per second, covering the space of a large room seven times faster than a human can react.
    Five spiraling grooves inside the rifle’s barrel spin the bullet clockwise to improve accuracy. And, when the bullet strikes a person, it causes what Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent Dale Higashi on Wednesday called a “snowstorm effect,” breaking into hundreds of little flakes.
    “The damage it causes to the target, the damage it causes to the bullet itself, is dramatic,” Higashi said.
    On Tuesday and Wednesday, testimony in Arapahoe County District Court told the microscopic story of the Aurora movie theater shooting.
    Three evidence analysts described in tedious detail their scientific analysis of bullet fragments, pieces of metal and gunshot-residue swabs. On Wednesday, Higashi testified that, out of the 150 bullets, shell casings and fragments he looked at, all of the items he could trace linked back to one of three guns — including the Smith & Wesson rifle — investigators say James Holmes used inside the theater in July 2012.


  • For 25 minutes Thursday morning during the murder trial of James Holmes in Centennial, Colorado, jurors passed the mountain of evidence gathered from the theater from person to person. Among the items they handled were two Glock handguns, a Smith and Wesson M&P15 rifle, magazines and ammunition, tactical body armor, two knives, a trio of gas masks, a Taser, and even the pink flip flops of one of the victims.
  • As the community mourned, attention turned to what lawmakers could do to prevent future instances of gun violence. In a highly contentious debate, the Democrat-controlled legislature passed a series of bills in 2013 to tighten the state’s gun laws. Among them were a measure to require universal background checks in order to prevent buyers from skirting background checks by purchasing weapons from private sellers online, for instance, and a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, like those used in Columbine and Aurora.
    Two awful tragedies were enough to to galvanize lawmakers.
  • Shooting: Movie theater in Aurora, Colorado
    Date: July 20, 2012
    Perpetrator: James E. Holmes
    Guns: Holmes used a semiautomatic Smith & Wesson M&P15 (a variation on the military’s M16 weapons), a 12-gauge Remington 870 shotgun, and a semiautomatic .40-caliber Glock 22, killing 12 and injuring 70. The New York Times reports that these three guns are some of the most popular in the U.S.—so widely used, in fact, that a “three-gun competition” has been established to test gun enthusiasts’ proficiency on each in a target-shooting game of speed.
    How he got them: All three guns were purchased legally in 2012 between May 22 and July 6 at three different Colorado gun stores.


  • What do James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and Omar Mateen have in common? Besides being the perpetrators of three of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, they all share a preference for the AR-15 assault rifle. The AR-15 assault rifle was used at the Aurora, Colo. shooting, the Newtown, Conn. shooting, and now the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. that killed 50 and is officially the deadliest such massacre in U.S. history...While Colt alone makes the official AR-15, variants and knock-offs are made by a huge number of gun manufactures, including Bushmaster, Les Baer, Remington, Smith & Wesson (swhc, +0.00%), and Sturm & Ruger (rgr, -2.04%), just to name a few. TacticalRetailer claims that from 2000 to 2015 the AR manufacturing sector expanded from 29 AR makers to about 500, “a stunning 1,700% increase.”
  • On July 20, 2012, a mass murderer killed 12 and wounded 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., using a Smith & Wesson M&P15. On Dec. 12, 2012, another mass murderer killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., using his mother's Bushmaster XM15-E2S. The letter and number suffixes belie a simple truth -- the guts of both guns look just like an M-16 or, as it is known for civilian use, an AR-15. OK, the M-16 can fire in fully automatic mode but otherwise, the same.
    In Orlando just this month, it was a similar type of semiautomatic assault weapon, a Sig Sauer MCX, that helped claim 49 lives.
    • Kingsbury, Alex (June 16 2016). "Meet the must-have Bling for Your Gun". Boston Globe. 




  • JULY 20, 2012 James E. Holmes, 24, killed 12 people and wounded 70 at a theater in Aurora, Colo., using a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic rifle, a Remington shotgun and a Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
    MARCH 2012 Over four months, Mr. Holmes legally bought more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition for handguns, 3,000 rounds for a semiautomatic rifle and 350 shells for a 12-gauge shotgun, all over the Internet.
    MAY 2012 He was seeing a psychiatrist and in the process of withdrawing from a graduate program at the University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus.
    MAY 2012 In the 60 days before the shooting, he bought four guns legally at local gun shops. Seeing a psychiatrist, even for a serious mental illness, would not disqualify him from buying a gun.
    JULY 20, 2012 He opened fire in the theater, killing 12 people.
  • Stocks were up Thursday for American Outdoor Brands, the company that makes the AR-15 rifle used in the Florida school shooting that claimed 17 lives.
    The company’s shares closed up 1.49%, netting the company an additional $8.8 million on the day.
    The Associated Press reported that accused gunman Nikolas Cruz used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle – a variant of the AR-15 – during his allegedly shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday.
    Smith & Wesson, which was founded in 1852, is a Springfield, Mass.-based holding of American Outdoor Brands....
    Shares of American Outdoor Brands closed 5.6% higher on Wednesday, the day of the shooting. It’s not uncommon for gun maker shares to rise following a mass shooting as people are likely to stock up fearing potential gun control measures.
    This is the third time an M&P15 has been used in a mass shooting in the United States.
    James E. Holmes, who was convicted of killing 12 and wounding 70 in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle. An illegally modified Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport rifle was recovered by law enforcement officials after the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, where 14 people were killed.
  • A quick Google search shows that P. James Debney is the CEO and president of American Outdoor Brands, which until last year was named Smith & Wesson.
    By whatever name, the company Debney heads manufactured the AR-15 assault rifle that Cruz used to kill 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and three staff members....
    Debney kept selling assault rifles as if he were just selling more plastic after a madman with a Smith & Wesson assault rifle murdered 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater....The company’s profits came to include the sale of the M&P15 that was used in the 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino. Fifteen were murdered....
    Smith & Wesson did experience a modest bump after a madman used one of its M&P15s to murder 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Valentine’s Day.
  • Beginning Thursday, a group of students will march westward a quarter of the way across Massachusetts in the latest act of a national, youth-led campaign to save lives and change the conversation about gun violence....
    The activists have two main goals. The first is to get Smith & Wesson to agree to stop manufacturing military-style weapons like the M&P 15, an AR-15-style rifle that has been used in a number of recent high-profile shootings, including in Parkland, Florida, in February, in San Bernardino, California, in 2015, and in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012.
    The second is for Smith & Wesson to donate $5 million to study gun violence and other crimes involving the company’s firearms.

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