Pro-Gun Rights Group: "Not Preposterous" to Ask Whether Government Was Behind Aurora Shootings

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 25 2012 2:46 PM

Pro-Gun Rights Group: "Not Preposterous" to Ask Whether Government Was Behind Aurora Shootings

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CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 23: Accused movie theater shooter James Holmes makes his first court appearance at the Arapahoe County on July 23, 2012 in Centennial, Colorado. According to police, Holmes killed 12 people and injured 58 others during a shooting rampage at an opening night screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises' July 20, in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images)

Photo by RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images

Tim Murphy spotted it this morning: A theory from the John Birch Society's magazine asking whether the Aurora shootings were a "mission" to "cause as much terror and mayhem as possible, then to have that multiplied by the national media at exactly the right time leading up the UN vote next week on a global small arms treaty that could result in gun confiscation across America." According to a company that pitches radio show guests, Gun Owners of America -- a 37-year-old more radical cousin of the NRA -- was getting behind that theory.

It sounded a little off to me, so I called GOA president Larry Pratt to check. Really?

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"We're still not clear who may or may not have been involved with the guy," said Pratt. "He found a way back into the theater, and we don't know how that happened. He may have jimmied the door himself; somebody may have worked with him. It's reasonable to ask. Here we are, the same week they may be signing a UN gun control treaty. After the government got involved in Fast and Furious, the WAY they got involved, it's not a preposterous question to ask -- if this was some kind of operation."

Pratt retold some elements of the Fast and Furious story, emphasizing -- as CBS News did last year -- that some bureaucrats talked amongst themselves about citing violence that broke out with "walked" guns to build a case for small arms control. "If we know that the government is willing to have a river of blood run through Mexico, then, yeah I want to know more about this guy Holmes."

Why, then, hasn't Barack Obama or Eric Holder made... well, forget "a connection," why haven't they made any references to gun control since the shootings? "They are somewhat shell-shocked by Fast and Furious and the aftermath," said Pratt. "They're beginning to see what most pols have known since 1994, that advocating gun control is a good way to get beat. We know that Holder talked about gun control before, and then-Speaker Pelosi told him to shut up."

Pratt's point? He doesn't know if Holmes was led on or armed or trained by anyone connected to entities that wanted to pass the Small Arms Treaty at the U.N. But he kept thinking about people killed by walked guns. "If they can do that, what else can they do?" he asked. "I wouldn't have asked that question before Fast and Furious."

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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