July 21--The Aurora, Colo., theater massacre spurred fearful consumers out west to arm themselves yesterday, with some gun shop owners reporting a massive spike in business.
"The phone's been ringing off the hook today," said Robert Parker, owner of Parker Arms & Gunsmithing, 17 miles from the site of the rampage. "Anytime something like this happens, people are more apt to think more about wanting to protect themselves. All of those people there were just helpless."
One hour north of Aurora at Rocky Mountain Shooter Supply, gun sales were up by about 50 percent, manager Bill Cates said.
"They're just tired of being victims," he said, adding that more women than usual were purchasing guns. "They just want to be able to protect themselves if they're in a situation like that."
Aurora was ground zero for a nationwide run on ammunition in 2009, following fears that the Obama administration would hike taxes on bullets or tighten gun laws, according to a CNN profile at the time.
But Thomas Nolan, a former Boston police officer and former associate professor of criminal justice at Boston University, said the route to safety lies in tighter control of guns.
"Many people would agree, this kind of violence doesn't take place in other parts of the world as it does in the United States, because the weapons aren't available," he said.
James Eagan Holmes, 24, was carrying a military style AR-15 assault rifle, two Glock .40-caliber pistols and a Remington 12-gauge shotgun -- all of which were legally purchased -- when he walked into a crowded movie theater and allegedly opened fire.
The body count -- 12 dead, 58 injured -- is likely due to a drum-style high capacity clip on the assault rifle that holds between 50 and 100 rounds.
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