Colorado Deputy’s Killer Bought Gun Legally. Imagine That!

Martin Wirth (courtesy AP)

“Investigators say a man who fatally shot a Colorado sheriff’s deputy and wounded two others trying to serve an eviction notice used a rifle he legally purchased four years ago,” the AP reports. “The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said Friday that Martin Wirth [above] bought the .45-caliber rifle from a private seller in February 2012. Authorities say the 58-year-old killed Cpl. Nate Carrigan and injured two other officers Wednesday at his foreclosed home near Bailey, about 45 miles west of Denver.” I’m thinking Hi-Point. I’m also thinking . . .

no matter where a “crime gun” came from, gun control advocates can’t lose. If the gun was purchased legally, they say “See? Anyone can become a killer! We need to tighten background checks!” If the gun was purchased illegally, they say “See? The background check system isn’t good enough! We need to tighten background checks!”

In case you’d forgotten, “tightening background checks” is code for prohibition. Anyway, if you really press a gun control advocate on background check failure top prevent crime (e.g., Chicago), they remain undaunted.  “If a background check saves one life, it’s worth it!”

Not true. Unconstitutional gun control laws (which is all of them) create barriers to gun ownership that prevents people from exercising their gun rights (especially lower income Americans). Lives are lost as a result.

Clear thinking people balance the number of lives “saved” by background checks (a number as difficult to assess as “jobs saved” by the now-forgotten $787b Stimulus Package) with the number of lives lost because people were disarmed ahead of a violent attack (equally unfathomable).

[Note: for the sake of argument, we’ll ignore the millions of lives saved because armed Americans forestal a fascist dictatorship.]

Actually, you know what? Forget it. Given that the right to keep and bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment, that right is not subject to arguments about social utility. So, once again, let’s just condemn the killer and be done with it. And continue the fight to protect our firearms freedom.


  1. avatar Cowabunga Dude says:

    Hi Point? Possible.

    Lever-action .45-70? Also possible.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Yeah, I am going with lever-action rifle chambered in .45-70 Government … that should be able to punch through level IIa ballistic vests with lighter bullet offerings. And even if it did not punch through the vests, the impact alone to someone’s chest could potentially stop their heart.

      1. avatar Kevin says:

        News reports say both the dead officer and the seriously injured one were each shot “multiple times”, leading me to think semi-auto rather than lever action.
        There are a number of .45 ACP carbines.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    Completely unpossible. Background checks prevent incidents like this. It’s commonsense!

  3. avatar Bob says:

    It was a MasterPiece Arms rifle. Not sure of the model.

  4. avatar Avid Reader says:

    I don’t know if it made the national news, but locally he was known for being heavily involved in the Occupy movement, and had run for the state senate some years back on the Green party ticket.

    1. avatar Sian says:

      So a liberal progressive then, who cracked when the system he loved failed him.

      Color me shocked. (not)

    2. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

      Yep, he was a crackpot leftist who shot another guy over a game of chess 20 years ago killing him. Big surprise of course that the mass killer was a way left of center communist.

    3. avatar foodog says:

      Waiting for the SPLC to classify OFA and Green Party as domestic terrorist organizations…

  5. avatar Jon in CO says:

    Prior to 1 June, 2013, private sales were not documented, nor were they required to be. So not sure how they came to the conclusion that he got it from a private sale unless he kept his own records. Or the guy that sold it to him 4 years ago remembered his face from TV.

    1. avatar Sian says:

      They have the rifle, so they can run the number, find out it went to so and so dealer. Ask dealer to check their A&D, and that it was sold to (second party here). FBI contacts the second party, and he says, ‘Oh yeah I sold it to that guy back in 2012.’

    2. avatar DonS says:

      Minor correction: the effective date of CRS 18-12-112 was 1 July 2013.

      1. avatar Avid Reader says:

        A day that will live in infamy. . .

      2. avatar Jon in CO says:

        Yeah I realized that afterwards, after the edit was long gone. I said screw it. Either way, it was horrible.

  6. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Didn’t Marlin sell a semi-auto in .45acp that took 1911 mags? I know they did in 9mm that took S&W mags.
    Camp carbine?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Plus there are a number of lever guns in .45Colt.

    2. avatar Colorado Kid says:

      Marlin Camp Carbine available in 9mm and 45acp.

  7. avatar Mark N. says:

    Gun traces are of no utility except when you have a crime scene and a gun, but no criminal. When you have the criminal and the gun, proving how he got it adds nothing to the criminal case; it is only necessary that the accused possessed the firearm, not that he owned it. Otherwise criminals with stolen guns would walk. Why do they bother wasting resources on this question? To find someone else to charge for this guy’s illegal conduct? Frankly, I just don’t get it.

    1. avatar Kevin says:

      Provenance may be important in a criminal case. Best practices dictate following all possible leads, even for a dead perpetrator.

  8. avatar Hannibal says:

    The fact that he bought it legally is a mark for gun control. If he had bought it illegally it would show that laws don’t stop criminals.

    However, just because someone does something illegal doesn’t mean I think we should restrict everyone’s rights.

  9. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    Probably a lever gun in 45colt. MY goal is a pistol caliber rifle. 357 lever sounds ideal…I promise I won’t shoot any cops.

    1. avatar Avid Reader says:

      I have a pre-Remlin lever in .38/357. Absolutely love it. Feeds any .357 mag I put it in. Kinda finicky with .38spl, but still lots of fun.

      Bought it in a private transaction before 1 July 2013, so stuff it, Hickenlooper!

  10. avatar DaveM says:

    At least the AP report didn’t show photo of an AK or AR, yet.

    1. avatar Colorado Kid says:

      Somehow they will associate the rifle he used to a military AR in the possession of a civilian. “…with a rifle similar to an AR in that it was an automatic…” is what I see coming anti-gun media sources.

  11. avatar wrightl3 says:

    Wow, gun control advocates waving a bloody shirt. Color me shocked. sarc/

  12. avatar Henry says:

    ‘no matter where a “crime gun” came from, gun control advocates can’t lose. If the gun was purchased legally, they say “See? Anyone can become a killer! We need to tighten background checks!” If the gun was purchased illegally, they say “See? The background check system isn’t good enough! We need to tighten background checks!”’

    And it’s not like this effect wasn’t common knowledge three decades ago:

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