The NRA boasted about overturning the Boulder ban on assault weapons less than a week before one was used in the grocery-store shooting

Connor Perrett
·3 min read
King Sooper Boulder shootings
Police respond to a King Sooper's grocery store on March 22, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. Ten people, including a police officer, were killed in the attack. Chet Strange/Getty Images
  • The National Rifle Association last week celebrated the elimination of Boulder's ban on assault weapons.

  • A judge ruled the city's ordinance was incompatible with Colorado state law.

  • Ten people died Monday when a shooter opened fire at a Boulder grocery store with an AR-15-style rifle, police say.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) celebrated the elimination of a Boulder, Colorado, ordinance prohibiting assault weapons in the city less than one week before the shooting at a grocery store in the city left 10 people dead.

"On Friday evening, a judge in the Centennial state gave law-abiding gun owners something to celebrate. He ruled that the city of Boulder's ban on possessing and transferring commonly-possessed "assault weapons" and ten-round magazines was preempted by state law and struck them down," the NRA wrote in a blog post dated March 15.

"The city council should have listened to the city attorney," it continued. "His repeated attempts to warn them that they did not have the authority to pass these ordinances were cited throughout the opinion. The opinion is also very thoroughly and thoughtfully written, which will make it even harder to overturn, should the city appeal it."

Read more: The House passed two universal gun background checks bills before the Colorado and Atlanta shootings. Here's what the measures would do.

On March 12 - 10 days before the shooting, Boulder County District Court Judge Andrew Hartman struck down a 2018 ban by Boulder authorities, which prohibited assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, after opponents argued it violated a Colorado state law passed in 2003.

The city of Boulder hasn't yet decided whether it plans to appeal the court's ruling, according to the Associated Press.

Timeline: The NRA and the Boulder shooting

  • March 12: Judge Andrew Hartman strikes down the 2018 Boulder ordinance prohibiting assault weapons.

  • March 15: The NRA Insititute for Legislative Action authors blog post celebrating the court ruling.

  • March 16: The NRA shared its blog post on Twitter, celebrating the judge "STRUCK THEM DOWN."

  • March 16: Future attack suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa purchased a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic pistol.

  • March 22: 10 people killed at a King Sooper's grocery store in Boulder.

  • March 23: The NRA says in a statement "gun control advocates have already rushed to politicize this horrific situation."

The NRA shared the story on Twitter on March 16, just six days before a gunman killed 10 people outside a King Sooper's grocery store in Boulder, writing that it had supported the case and that the judge had "STRUCK THEM DOWN."

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The NRA's Insititute for Legislative Action, which authored the posts and supported the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Police say that the accused shooter, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, used an AR-15 style weapon in the mass killing. In an affidavit released Tuesday, police said Alissa purchased a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic pistol on March 16, less than a week before the shooting.

It's not yet clear if this was the weapon used in the shooting Monday or where Alissa purchased the AR-556. The affidavit, which included in a warrant for Alissa's arrest, said an AR-15-style rifle, as well as a semiautomatic handgun, were recovered at the scene.

The AR-556 would have been covered by Boulder's ban, The Denver Post reported.

In a statement Tuesday evening, the NRA said it was "saddened by this tragic and senseless crime."

"It is our longstanding rule to wait for all the facts to be known before making any policy statements," it continued. "Regrettably, gun control advocates have already rushed to politicize this horrific situation ‚ even as most of the salient facts remain unknown."

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