Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Gun sales soar in Colorado in wake of cinema killings as public paranoia sparks incidents in other states

Photo combination shows a variety of facial expressions of James E. Holmes during his appearance at Arapahoe County District Court Monday, July 23, 2012, in Centennial, Colo.
Photo combination shows a variety of facial expressions of James E. Holmes during his appearance at Arapahoe County District Court Monday, July 23, 2012, in Centennial, Colo.
A couple embraces each other as actor Christian Bale holds flowers before placing them at the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater
AURORA, CO - JULY 24: Actor Christian Bale visits the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater July 24, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. The memorial was created for the victims of the mass shooting that occured at the theater last Friday. James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a screening of the new "Batman" film. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 24: Actor Christian Bale visits the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater July 24, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. The memorial was created for the victims of the mass shooting that occured at the theater last Friday. James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a screening of the new "Batman" film. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 24: Actor Christian Bale visits the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater July 24, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. The memorial was created for the victims of the mass shooting that occured at the theater last Friday. James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a screening of the new "Batman" film. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 24: Actor Christian Bale places flowers at the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater July 24, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. The memorial was created for the victims of the mass shooting that occured at the theater last Friday. James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a screening of the new "Batman" film. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 24: Actor Christian Bale visits the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater July 24, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. The memorial was created for the victims of the mass shooting that occured at the theater last Friday. James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a screening of the new "Batman" film. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 24: Actor Christian Bale visits the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater July 24, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. The memorial was created for the victims of the mass shooting that occured at the theater last Friday. James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a screening of the new "Batman" film. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Christian Bale visited victims of a shooting at a Colorado cinema
James Holmes has dyed his hair a shocking shade of orange (AP/Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office)
James Holmes appears in court with dyed hair, sitting next to his lawyer (AP)
Mass shooting suspect James Holmes is due to make an initial court appearance (AP/University of Colorado)
Family members react as the names of the 12 victims of the mass shooting at Century 16 movie theater are read aloud during a prayer vigil at the Aurora Municipal Center July 22, 2012
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Thousands of people gather for a prayer vigil for the victims of Friday's movie theater mass shooting at the Aurora Municipal Center July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Suspect James Holmes, 24, allegedly went on a shooting spree and killed 12 people and injured 59 during an early morning screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Mourners attend a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Century 16 movie theater at the Aurora Municipal Center on July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Suspect James Holmes, 24, allegedly went on a shooting spree and killed 12 people and injured 59 during an early morning screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Members of Firing-Line fire their weapons at the gun range July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Firing-Line is located not far from where suspect gunman James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film last Friday. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Rifles are displayed at Firing-Line July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Firing-Line is located not far from where suspect gunman James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film last Friday. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: A target sheet hangs in the shooting range at Firing-Line prepares to fire his weapon at the gun range July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Firing-Line is located not far from where suspect gunman James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film last Friday. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: A member of Firing-Line prepares fires his weapon at the gun range July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Firing-Line is located not far from where suspect gunman James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film last Friday. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: A Bush Master AR15 assault rifle is displayed at Firing-Line July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Firing-Line is located not far from where suspect gunman James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film last Friday. The firearm is similar to the one used in the rampage. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: A customer holds a Smith & Wesson pistol at Firing-Line July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Firing-Line is located not far from where suspect gunman James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film last Friday. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Hand guns are displayed at Firing-Line July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Firing-Line is located not far from where suspect gunman James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film last Friday. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: A Bush Master AR15 assault rifle is displayed at Firing-Line July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Firing-Line is located not far from where suspect gunman James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film last Friday. The firearm is similar to the one used in the rampage. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: A member of Firing-Line prepares fires his weapon at the gun range July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Firing-Line is located not far from where suspect gunman James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film last Friday. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Parishioners pray during morning mass remembering victims of the theater shooting at the Queen of Peace Catholic Church on July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Suspect James Holmes, 24, allegedly went on a shooting spree and killed 12 people and injured 59 during an early morning screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Greg Zanis of Aurora, Illinois, places crosses he made for a makeshift memorial to the victims of last weekend's mass shooting at the Century 16 movie theater July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. A carpenter by trade, Zanis made the twelve white crosses that were placed near Columbine High School after a mass shooting there in 1999. Zanis said he made these crosses as fast as possible and drove all night across the country to place them across the street from the theater. Police in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, say they have James Holmes, 24, in custody after he killed 12 people and injured 59 during a midnight screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises' last Friday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 21: Sisters hug at a makeshift memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater the day after a gunman killed 12 people and injured 59 during an early morning screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises,' July 21, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Police in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, say they have the suspect James Holmes, 24, in custody. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Family members react as the names of the 12 victims of the mass shooting at Century 16 movie theater are read aloud during a prayer vigil at the Aurora Municipal Center July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Suspect James Holmes, allegedly went on a shooting spree and killed 12 people and injured 59 during an early morning screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' (Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz-Pool/Denver Post via Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Family members listen as the names of the 12 victims of the mass shooting at Century 16 movie theater are read aloud during a prayer vigil at the Aurora Municipal Center July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Suspect James Holmes, allegedly went on a shooting spree and killed 12 people and injured 59 during an early morning screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' (Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz-Pool/Denver Post via Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: People pray and mourn during a memorial for the victims that were killed and wounded during the mass shooting at a movie theater last Friday, outside the Aurora Municipal Center July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. James Eagan Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people at a screening of the new "Batman" film. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 22: Thousands of people gather for a prayer vigil for the victims of Friday's movie theater mass shooting at the Aurora Municipal Center July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Suspect James Holmes, 24, allegedly went on a shooting spree and killed 12 people and injured 59 during an early morning screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado (AP/Susan Walsh)
An FBI agent can be seen through the broken window of the apartment of shooting suspect James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado (AP/Ed Andrieski)
The Century 16 cinema in Aurora, Colorado where a gunman killed at least 12 people and wounded dozens of others (AP/Ted S Warren)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: A Popcorn box lies on the ground outside Century 16 movie theatre where a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises" July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and at least 59 wounded when James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside the a movie theater showing the "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have James, 24, of Holmes of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: A mourner grieves at a memorial service July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people were killed and 59 wounded when James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside a movie theater showing the "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have Holmes 24, of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 20: A makeshift memorial is shown behind the Century 16 movie theatre where a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people were killed and 59 wounded when James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside the theater. Police have Holmes 24, of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 20: People pray at a makeshift memorial during a vigil for victims of the Century 16 movie theatre where a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people were killed and 59 wounded when James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside the theater. Police have Holmes 24, of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: People hug during a vigil for victims at the Century 16 movie theatre where a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people were killed and 59 wounded when James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside the theater. Police have Holmes 24, of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: Marietta Perkins prays during a vigil for victims at the Century 16 movie theatre where a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people were killed and 59 wounded when James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside the theater. Police have Holmes 24, of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: Alexis Davis hugs Nick Vanderbaan at a memorial service July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people were killed and 59 wounded when James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside a movie theater showing the "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have Holmes 24, of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)
Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interviewed by police outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning after a shooting at a movie theater, Friday, July 20, 2012 in Denver.
Police gather near an apartment house where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012.
People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., at the scene of a mass shooting early Friday morning, July 20, 2012.
An Aurora Police officer talks on his radio outside of the Century 16 theater at Aurora Mall where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
A SWAT team officer stands watch near an apartment house where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. As many as 14 people were killed and 50 injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday during the showing of the latest Batman movie. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: Melissa Clark and Nathan Mendonca hug during memorial service July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people were killed and 59 wounded when James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside a movie theater showing the "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have Holmes 24, of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: Memebers of the Aurora Police Dept. SWAT walk near the apartment of of James Holmes, the suspect of a shooting in a movie theater July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and at least 59 wounded when James allegedly opened fire inside the a movie theater showing the "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have James, 24, of Holmes of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: Police break the window of the apartment of of James Holmes, the suspect of a shooting in a movie theater July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and 59 wounded when James allegedly opened fire inside the a movie theater showing the "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have James, 24, of Holmes of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: A woman holds a candle at a makeshift memorial for victims of the Century 16 movie theatre where a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie 'The Dark Knight Rises' on July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people were killed and 59 wounded when James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside the theater. Police have Holmes 24, of North Aurora, in custody (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)

Gun sales have surged in Colorado in the days since the state became the scene of the worst mass shooting in the US.

Local authorities reported a huge spike in the numbers of gun stores running background checks on potential customers, and shooting ranges are now booked up for weeks.



The figures suggest that many locals have responded to the rampage that killed 12 people at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Denver suburb of Aurora in the early hours of Friday morning not with a new campaign to ban semi-automatic weapons and handguns, but with a determination to arm themselves in self-defence.



At Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo, there was a queue of more than 15 people outside the store when it opened that Friday morning, and sales have been brisk ever since.



"It's been insane," store employee Jake Meyers told the local newspaper in Denver. "A lot of it is people saying, 'I didn't think I needed a gun, but now I do'. When it happens in your backyard, people start reassessing – 'Hey, I go to the movies.'"



According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, it approved background checks for 2,887 people who wanted to purchase a firearm between Friday and Sunday, a 43 per cent increase on the previous weekend. It ran 1,216 checks on Friday alone.



While some liberal politicians have demanded tighter restrictions to make it harder for the likes of shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes to build an arsenal of weapons, President Barack Obama sidetracked the issue of putting gun control at the forefront of the political agenda in his remarks in Aurora.



Public support for new gun laws has fallen and the lobbying power of the National Rifle Association has grown in recent years, despite a string of mass killings.



One Colorado Congressman, Ed Perlmutter, who has pushed for tighter restrictions in the wake of last week's incident, received invective on his Facebook page from gun lobby supporters.



One post read: "If ONE person inside that theater was armed, this situation would NOT have been as bad as it is. Stricter gun control means NOTHING to the criminal."



Police in Maine yesterday unveiled details of a huge cache of weapons found in the home of one resident who told them he was on his way to shoot a former employer a day after watching The Dark Knight Rises.



Timothy Courtois had been stopped for speeding when a police search of his car found an AK-47 assault weapon, four handguns, ammunition and news clippings about the killings in Aurora.



Separately, movie-goers in Sierra Visa, Arizona, panicked when a man who appeared intoxicated was confronted by security guards during a showing of the movie. The Cochise County Sheriff's office said it caused "mass hysteria" and about 50 people fled the cinema.

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