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BOULDER, CO – In a twist regarding the investigation of the Boulder mass shooting that occurred earlier in March, it turns out that the weapon used by the alleged perpetrator is classified as a pistol instead of a rifle.

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold recently verified that the firearm used in the mass shooting at King Soopers was a legally purchased Ruger AR-556 pistol, which is likely to obfuscate talking points gun-control proponents have used in reference to the tragedy while promoting a new ban on “assault rifles”.

During a press conference that occurred during the morning of March 26th, Chief Herold stated the following:

“The firearm used by the suspect in King Soopers on March 22 is a semi-automatic Ruger AR-556 pistol.”

For the sake of brevity, we’ll move past the rhetoric of what is or is not an “assault rifle” and instead examine what exactly is the AR-556 pistol that was allegedly used in the Boulder shooting.

As odd as it may seem, despite the general optics of the firearm, the Ruger AR-556 in question is a pistol.

The specifications of the firearm notes that it hosts a 10.5-inch barrel length, an overall weapon length that ranges between 25.3 to 27.9 inches and has a magazine capacity that holds up to 30 rounds.

For a firearm to be legally classified as a rifle within the United States under federal law, the barrel must be 16 inches or greater in length.

Basically, the Ruger AR-556 pistol is about 5.5 inches shy in barrel length to be considered a rifle.

But it’s also worth pointing out that the average barrel length for a run-of-the-mill pistol is slightly over 5 inches.

Yet, there’s apparently numerous iterations of AR-styled pistols that typically host barrel lengths between 7 and 10.5 inches.

Interestingly, the inception of the AR-style pistols was mostly inspired as a means to circumvent the NFA tax stamp requirements allocated for what was legally defined as “short barreled rifles”, according to Wide Open Spaces contributor Ryan Ross:

“The National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) defined any rifle with a shoulder stock and barrel less than 16 inches in length and 26 inches in overall length to be a ‘short barreled rifle’ (SBR) and required a citizen to fill out a BATFE Form 4 and pay a $200 NFA Tax Stamp.”

“In 1934, $200 was a lot of money and was viewed by many as a back-door gun control measure, among other things. The AR pistol was developed to get around that NFA restriction since tax stamp waiting times are still longer than most would prefer.”

However, will the reality of the weapon used in Boulder being a bona fide pistol actually dissuade gun-reform proponents from encouraging gun control legislation centered on “assault rifles”? Honestly, it probably won’t.

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When it relates to the massing shooting that killed 10 people in Boulder, more details are continuing to unfold. One of the more recent, and concerning, revelations is that the FBI allegedly knew about the suspect prior to the killings occurring. 

Here’s that previous report. 


BOULDER, CO – The mass shooting in a Boulder grocery store this week which claimed the lives of 10 people was a tragic crime. Adding to the tragedy, the gunman may have been previously known to federal law enforcement.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was armed with both a semiautomatic rifle and a pistol when he walked into the King Soopers store on Monday and opened fire, officials said.

The New York Times reported that the FBI was aware of Alissa prior to the killing spree:

“The suspect’s identity was previously known to the F.B.I. because he was linked to another individual under investigation by the bureau, according to law enforcement officials.”

Officer Eric Talley, 51, with the Boulder Police Department was killed by the gunman after responding to the reports of shots fired inside the store.

Talley was one of the first officer to arrive on scene, and was reportedly shot in the head by Alissa during an exchange of gunfire.

The authorities identified the nine additional victims as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.

Authorities are still investigating a motive for the shooting. Alissa was born in Syria, but raised in the United States.

Reports that the FBI was aware of the gunman prior to the shooting because of ties to another incident follows a startling admission that the agency struggles to handle all the threats facing the country.

During congressional testimony March 2, FBI Director Christopher Wray said:

“Everywhere I go, someone has really good ideas about things they think the FBI should be doing more of, but I have not found very many people with great ideas, or at least responsible ideas of things the FBI could be doing less of. And so our folks are busting their you know whats-

“To try to deal with all these threats. We need more agents. We need more analysts. We need more data analytics, et cetera.”

If the FBI had prior information that could have prevented the Boulder attack, an assumption not yet proven, it would not be the first federal law enforcement failure to prevent a domestic attack.

One year ago, a report released by Inspector General Michael Horowitz of the Department of Justice revealed that between November 2009 and January 2017 under the Obama administration and former FBI director James Comey, the FBI missed numerous opportunities to stop homegrown jihadist terrorists from killing and injuring Americans during that time frame.

The report released by Horowitz identified six attacks by individuals who were under the FBI’s radar, including Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The attack on the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 killed three people, including a young child and wounded more than 260 others.

The report read:

“(An audit) found that the FBI counterterrorism agent assigned to the (case)…did not take certain available steps to evaluate the subject.

“The DOJ (IG) concluded that certain available investigative steps, including conducting additional database searches, asking questions of Tsarnaev and his parents to elicit information about any plans Tsarnaev may have had to travel to Russia, and interviewing Tsarnaev’s former girlfriend and wife, would have resulted in a more thorough assessment (of the threat).”

Other intelligence failures that have led to violent attacks on Americans inside the United States include the 2009 Fort Hood attack that killed 13, the 2015 Pulse Nightclub shooting that killed 49, and the 2017 Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale International Airport attack that killed five people.

Each of these and other attacks, involved intelligence failures prior to their commission, according to the report.

While not having a clear explanation as to why intelligence failures occurred, during testimony Director Wray said he did have some idea as to why domestic violence is on the rise.

He said that some of the violence is being fed by people being home from work because of the pandemic. He said another cause is the staffing problems with police departments:

 “I’m not sure there’s any single factor that’s driving it. I think it’s a variety of things. Some of it may be the pandemic itself in its own way has had an impact. There are people who are maybe not at jobs or not in school or not otherwise available, and they’re more … there’s more potential for wrongdoing to occur.

“We’ve talked about some of the challenges with local police departments and some of the issues there in terms of their recruiting and staffing. A lot of them are understaffed in addition to the recruiting challenge. So that’s a problem.”

Police departments nationwide have reported large numbers of police officers retiring and resigning, as well as difficulty recruiting new officers.

Departments have pointed to the vilification of police officers in mainstream media, Democratic talking points, and calls for defunding the police by left-wing advocacy groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter as a major reason for the staffing problems.

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