NEW YORK -- A Republican state senator in Colorado has claimed it was "maybe a good thing" that James Holmes, the alleged gunman in the Aurora theatre shooting, used a 100-round ammunition magazine.
The 2012 massacre, which left 12 people dead and more than 70 wounded, sparked a national debate in the US about gun control, and particularly whether high-capacity magazines should be available to members of the public. Holmes, who stands accused of the slaughter, purchased the magazine legally before allegedly carrying out the shooting.
Responding to a question in the state senate about the state's subsequent ban on high-capacity magazines, Bernie Herpin said: "As it turns out, that was maybe a good thing that he had a 100-round magazine because it jammed. If he had four, five, six 15-round magazines, there’s no telling how much damage he could have done until a good guy with a gun showed up."
Herpin’s comments sparked an immediate backlash, with Tom Sullivan, the father of one of the victims killed in the theatre, responding: "I've had a lot of thoughts since July 20 of 2012 and I can tell you that I never have once thought that it was better that that man walked into that theatre with a 100-round drum and opened fire on the over 200 people that were in that theatre."
Sullivan added: "From every indication I have, from the pictures and reports that I received from the DA, it says that 76 bullets came out of that magazine."
Herpin was quick to backtrack, suggesting he was only trying to illustrate that high-capacity magazines were unreliable.
Following the Aurora massacre, the state’s Democratic governor John Hickenlooper signed into law a number of gun control measures, including a ban on high capacity magazines, and background checks for all gun sales. State Republicans, including Herpin, have targeted these measures for repeal so far without success.
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