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Gun Used In Boulder Shooting Was A Pistol, Not An ‘Assault Rifle,’ Police Chief Says

By Holly Matkin and Sandy Malone

Boulder, CO – Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold has confirmed the weapon used in the mass shooting attack at King Soopers grocery store was a legally-obtained Ruger AR-556 pistol, surprising gun control advocates who had used this as a jumping off platform for a new “assault rifle” ban.

“The firearm used by the suspect in King Soopers on March 22 is a semi-automatic Ruger AR-556 pistol,” Chief Herold told reporters during a press conference on Friday morning. “It was legally purchased in a gun store in Arvada, Colorado.”

The chief said the shooter was also carrying a 9mm handgun at the time of the attack.

“At this time, we do not believe that gun was used in this incident,” she noted.

The motive for the attack remains unclear, KDVR reported.

According to the gunman’s since-deleted Facebook page, he said he was born in Syria in 1999, and that he moved to the U.S. in 2002, the Daily Beast reported.

Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said during a press conference Tuesday that the gunman “has lived most of his life in the United States.”

Ten people, including Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, were gunned down during the mass shooting.

Investigators previously said the gunman purchased a Ruger AR-556 pistol on March 16, according to court documents.

Police recovered a tactical vest, a shirt, and a semi-automatic handgun at the scene of the grocery store massacre, FOX News reported.

A senior law enforcement source told CNN earlier this week that the weapon used in the mass shooting was an AR-15-style pistol equipped with an arm brace.

Multiple news outlets and politicians have been citing the Boulder shooting as an argument for gun control after witnesses reported the shooter was carrying “a possible AR-15” at the time of the attack, the New York Daily News reported.

Officer Talley’s father, Homer Talley, told TMZ his son would have hated to see his murder held up as a rallying cry for gun control.

Homer said his son, an 11-year police veteran and strong advocate of the Second Amendment, personally owned an AR-15 that he enjoyed using it for target practice.

Homer said that the gun control debate that has erupted in the wake of the mass shooting is only causing a misappropriation of blame, TMZ reported.

“My son would have been deeply offended to know his death would be used to promote gun control,” he said. “Before he was an officer, he enjoyed shooting.”

Homer said the attack was “a senseless act and that is just it. The situation [Eric] found himself in wasn’t one that the government could protect him from,” TMZ reported.

“Just because some wacko goes around shooting people doesn’t mean guns need to be taken away. You can’t take away enough guns to protect this country,” the fallen officer’s father added.

He reiterated that both he and his son, a father of seven, have always been staunch supporters of the Second Amendment.

“To take away that freedom completely is something I am against and my son was against,” Homer told TMZ.

President Joe Biden used the mass shooting to call for a ban on so-called “assault weapons” on Tuesday.

President Biden said at a White House press briefing on March 23 that he might take executive action on gun violence, NBC News reported.

“As president I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep people safe,” he said.

Then the President called for a ban on “assault-style weapons” like the popular AR-15-style pistol used by the gunman in Boulder, and a ban on high-capacity magazines, NBC News reported.

“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future, and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” President Biden said.

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines once again,” the President said. “I got that done when I was a senator. It passed. It was the law for the longest time. And it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again.”

President Biden called on the Senate to pass the two anti-gun House bills that currently have a slim chance of being passed by the other chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has promised that the Senate will take up the gun control legislation for votes but NBC News reported that he doesn’t have the 10 GOP votes needed to override a filibuster.

“And, and we can save lives, increasing the background checks that are supposed to occur, eliminate assault weapons, and the size of magazines – don’t know all the detail on that yet. But I’ll be talking to you more later today or in the next couple of days about what else we know,” the President promised.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) pointed to the fact that the city of Boulder had banned assault-style rifles back in 2018, NBC News reported.

However, a court blocked the ban 10 days before the attack.

Republican lawmakers pushed back and said that gun laws wouldn’t have prevented Monday’s shooting, nor would it keep banned weapons out of the hands of criminals, NBC News reported.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Democrats do the same thing every time there is a mass shooting.

“Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders,” Cruz said. “What happens in this committee after every mass shooting is Democrats propose taking away guns from law abiding citizens, because that’s their political objective.”

Several of the top people in President Joe Biden’s administration – including Vice President Kamala Harris – want mandatory gun buybacks and have said they support seizing so-called “assault weapons.”

President Joe Biden has called for voluntary gun buyback programs and forcing weapons owners to register “assault weapons” under the National Firearms Act, FOX News reported.

Vice President Harris has said she would support mandatory gun buybacks that would force Americans to surrender certain weapons in exchange for money, Bloomberg reported.

“I think it’s a good idea,” she said when asked about mandatory buybacks.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Deputy Chief of Staff Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, and Cedric Richmond, director of the Office of Public Engagement, all said before they were hired that they supported forcing U.S. citizens to surrender some firearms, FOX News reported.

“That’s something I would not rule out. These are weapons of mass destruction,” Richmond said in 2019 when he was asked about mandatory buybacks.

He was a congressman from Louisiana at the time he made the remarks, according to FOX News.

“So if it is a buyback, then I’m all for it,” Richmond explained. “If it’s a mandatory buyback, I think then you may run into some complications, but the thought of it does not offend me, and it sounds like something I could support.”

The White House press secretary jumped on board the Beto O’Rourke gun confiscation train during the campaign, FOX News reported.

“Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, AK-47,” O’Rourke said during one of the Democratic presidential debates.

Then-Presidential candidate O’Rourke also pledged to send police door-to-door to confiscate guns.

Psaki enthusiastically tweeted her support for O’Rourke’s gun confiscation plan, FOX News reported.

“Thank you @BetoORourke take guns,” Psaki tweeted. “Please. No one needs an assault weapon. This is a crisis.”

The Biden administration confirmed that President Biden’s stance on voluntary gun buybacks and firearms registration has not changed, but refused to answer questions about whether a mandatory buyback plan was in the cards, FOX News reported.

Vice President Harris has warned that President Biden hasn’t ruled out taking executive action on gun control but said Democrats would have to pass corresponding legislation in order to make anti-gun measures stick.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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