Colorado Shooter Passed Background Check for Gun He Bought to Slaughter 10 People

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The alleged shooter in a massacre at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo., passed a background check when buying a gun six days before the murders.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa opened fire in the store, killing 10 people, including a Boulder police officer. John Mark Eagleton, owner of Eagles Nest Armory in the Denver suburb of Arvada, said he’s cooperating with federal authorities. Alissa passed a background check conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation before purchasing a gun, Eagleton said.


Associated Press:

Alissa used a Ruger AR-556 pistol, which resembles an AR-15 rifle with a slightly shorter stock, in the shooting, Herold said. An arrest affidavit says Alissa purchased it on March 16, six days before the shooting.

He also had a 9 mm handgun, which the police chief said was not believed to have been used in the attack. Herold didn’t say how Alissa obtained it.

“We are absolutely shocked by what happened and our hearts are broken for the victims and families that are left behind. Ensuring every sale that occurs at our shop is lawful, has always been and will always remain the highest priority for our business,” Eagleton said in the statement.

Alissa’s only brush with the law was a misdemeanor assault conviction in 2018 after he got into a fight with a classmate at high school. He got probation and community service, which he successfully completed.

The shooter had no history of mental illness. In fact, there was nothing in his background that would have flagged the gun purchase he made. There is not a single law on the books now or proposed by the most rabid pro-gun control advocate that would have prevented him from legally buying a weapon.


The city of Boulder had actually banned “assault weapons” in 2018 but a judge recently ruled the city couldn’t enforce the ban.


Leaders had hoped to prevent the kind of mass shooting that’s struck the state more than once over the last two decades. But just 10 days before Monday’s rampage, the measure was blocked in court after a lawsuit backed by the National Rifle Association. The ruling came under a Colorado law that bars local officials from making their own gun laws.

Similar preemption laws have become the norm in over 40 U.S. states since the 1980s. Just a handful of states still allow local officials to make their own rules on guns, according to the group Everytown For Gun Safety. In Florida, officials can be fined up to $5,000 if they do, and in Nevada, they could be subject to hefty damages if laws are struck down in court.

Preemption is simply common sense. If local governments could pass their own gun laws, gun owners could face a gauntlet of competing and contradictory laws as they travel across their state.

Supporters say preemption measures allow states to be consistent in firearm laws so that law-abiding gun owners aren’t facing a patchwork of different rules in different parts of the state. The NRA has called the Boulder ordinance counter-productive, and argued it was a clear violation of Colorado’s preemption law passed in 2003.


But whoever said that gun control had to make sense? The bottom line is that any new national laws being considered in Washington would not have stopped the massacre in Boulder and to claim otherwise is ludicrous.

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