How the Aurora shooter got his bullets, stltoday.com‘s headline proclaims. At the risk of Rosebudding your sled, James Holmes bought ammo from LuckyGunner. Legally. Or, as Todd C. Frankel puts it, “The answer appeared to be an online company in St. Louis, a detail widely reported one year ago . . . The trail leads not to St. Louis but to Knoxville, Tenn., and on to Atlanta, to a secretive 4-year-old company [Lucky Gunner] considered to be among the nation’s top online ammunition dealers. Its founders — a pair of former real estate developers — sell bullets using far-flung P.O. boxes, different corporate identities . . . By last summer, these entrepreneurs stood perfectly positioned to close on a quick, legal sale to a deranged killer.” Wait. What? It gets worse . . .
The story of how the Aurora gunman got his 170 pounds of ammo — a transaction that received far less attention than how he obtained his firearms — is a journey into the divisive debate over gun violence, about how guns and ammo flow through the nation and the companies that profit along the way.
Each shooting briefly revives talk about banning certain guns or magazines while another often common feature goes overlooked: the ammo stockpiles. In Newtown, Conn., authorities are looking into how the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School acquired more than 1,600 bullets. A thwarted plan by a former student to shoot up the University of Central Florida in Orlando earlier this year led police to 1,000 rounds of ammunition. And then there’s the 6,000 rounds in Aurora.
It wasn’t always possible for someone to buy so many bullets so quickly, with so little scrutiny. And it wasn’t always so difficult to track where those bullets came from.
Call it the Chris Rock School of gun control. Gun owners aren’t dangerous! Guns aren’t dangerous! Bullets are dangerous! Control the bullets and you control “gun violence.”
The idea of “bullet control” is utterly preposterous—unless you’re a Constitution-defying statist looking for a back door method to track, control and ultimately disarm civilians. Which is why both New York and Connecticut responded the Newtown spree-killing by requiring ammo sales registration. I digress.
But not as much as Mr. Frankel, who sleuths through the South looking for the fountain of ammo. And eventually finds it in Atlanta, where an extremely stealthy Lucky Gunner hides their corporate HQ. Or warehouse. Or something.
On the way there Frankel manages to track down Walls of the City rampart manner Linoge, who decries the once-beloved ammo provider for marketing products under several brand names. Which is almost as bad as legally selling ammo over the internet, if not worse. And now . . . guns!
Go back to September, two months after the Aurora shooting. That month LuckyGunner received some good news. It was granted a federal license to sell firearms by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It’s now a licensed gun dealer. It’s not clear what LuckyGunner or any of its affiliated companies plan to do with these new powers. But the federal license provides a business address for LuckyGunner. It’s not in St. Louis. Or Knoxville. It’s at that warehouse in Atlanta.
Gun sales! Over the Internet (shipped to licensed gun dealers, subject to NICS clearance)! From an unmarked warehouse in The City Too Busy To Hate! The next thing, you’ll be telling me that people are exercising their First Amendment protected right to free speech by selling books via the internet! Legally!
The mind boggles.