“Please describe how you would make illegal possession illegal-er.”
Police believe that the guns used in a Tuesday school shooting in Highlands, Colorado that claimed the life of one student and injured eight were stolen from a locked gun cabinet owned by the parents of 18-year-old suspect Devon Erickson.
A high-ranking source with knowledge of the investigation told local ABC affiliate Denver7 that Erickson and a second suspect smashed into the cabinet on the morning of the shooting. CNN reported Tuesday that a law enforcement source said the guns were stolen from Erickson’s parents and that they were purchased legally.
The revelation could be seen as contradicting the narratives offered by those calling for stricter gun control measures in the wake of the shooting. In fact, National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch argued in a similar vein during a Wednesday exchange with Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
“I am heartbroken about this shooting in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. We cannot allow ourselves to become accustomed to this violence, we must act and pass gun safety reform now,” Omar said in a tweet one day after the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.
Loesch responded with a tweet of her own, which referenced the fact that the guns had been obtained illegally. “The murderers used illegally possessed handguns that one must be 21 to purchase or carry. Please describe how you would make illegal possession illegal-er,” the NRATV host tweeted.
Prominent gun control advocates and groups, and many Democrat politicians, have faced pushback on their vocal calls for stricter gun control measures in the wake of the shooting – and not just from gun rights-supporting conservatives like Loesch. Survivors of the STEM shooting stormed out of a gun-control rally Wednesday, saying that their grief was being inappropriately politicized.
The event was billed primarily as a vigil for Kendrick Castillo, 18, the student killed in the attack Tuesday in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. However, speakers at the school’s packed gymnasium were mostly politicians and activists who urged Congress to pass more restrictive gun law.
After about 30 minutes, hundreds of students walked out in anger and tears. They shouted: “This is not for us,” “Political stunt,” and “We are people, not a statement.”
Details continue to emerge about Erickson and fellow suspect, 16-year-old Alec McKinney, born Maya McKinney. Both suspects appeared in court Wednesday.
According to Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, two handguns were used in the shooting, and police also recovered a rifle. Spurlock said that police responded to the shooting in under two minutes.
Local news outlets reported that Erickson does not have a criminal record. However, the young man has a well-documented record of anti-conservative activism on social media.
Erickson, a registered Democrat who expressed support for LGBT rights, said on Facebook in 2014 that he hated Christians for their beliefs about homosexuality.
McKinney, a biological female, is reportedly undergoing a female to male transition and identifies as male.
During a Wednesday court appearance, lawyers for McKinney – who is a biological female legally named Maya – asked that their client’s preferred pronouns be respected and that McKinney be referred to as “he.”