Nugent Doubles Down, Claims Aurora Shooter Could Have Done “More Damage” With Single Shot Rifle

Washington Times columnist and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent is continuing to offer false or misleading commentary on last week's tragic mass shooting in Colorado in order to undermine a push for stronger gun violence prevention laws.

During an appearance yesterday on Glenn Beck's radio show, Nugent again denied that the alleged shooter had been armed with an assault weapon, while theorizing that the Aurora theater shooter could have done “more damage with a single shot or bolt action [rifle] because he had 20 minutes.” In fact, police were reportedly on the scene between 60 and 90 seconds after the first 911 calls were made.  

NUGENT: And remember, Glenn, this monster in Aurora took 20 minutes to do his evil. In 20 minutes you don't need an assault weapon, you don't need a machine gun, which he didn't have either of, but you could do more damage with a single shot or a bolt action because he had 20 minutes. 

Single shot rifles and bolt action rifles must be reloaded after each shot is fired. Reload time has been a critical factor in other mass shootings. During the January 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona that left six dead and gravely wounded then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the shooter was only stopped when he was tackled as he paused to reload.  

The three semi-automatic weapons reportedly used by the shooter fired a bullet each time the trigger was pulled. One of the weapons used, a Smith & Wesson assault weapon equipped with a drum magazine possessed the capability to fire 50 to 60 shots a minute with no need to reload until after the 100 round drum was expended.    

Nugent also doubled down on a previous statement that there were “no assault weapons used in the CO shooting only universally proven sporting & self defense firearms.”

NUGENT: And let me state as if fact that I know for a fact that most of the damage done by this devil in Aurora was done with the number one pheasant shotgun in the world, a Remington 870. His AR-15 Smith & Wesson rifle is now the most popular sporting rifle in America. It is the number one competition, number one in self-defense; it's the number one sporting rifle for big game and small game. And if they keep calling it an assault weapon, I may have that aneurysm.  

Nugent's attempt to mainstream assault weapons as common hunting implements is misleading. Paul A. Smith, outdoors editor for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has stated that while assault rifles “have gained favor among some hunters and sport shooters in recent decades, they constitute a small fraction of deer hunting rifles in use today.”

Indeed, the assault weapon allegedly used in the theater shooting may have been illegal to purchase under the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. The hundred-round magazine would have been banned under that law.

In a final bizarre twist, Nugent compared target shooting at watermelons to the scenario that an armed citizen would have faced returning fire against the heavily armed and armored Aurora theater shooter.

His comparison between shooting at a stationary target -- which does not return fire -- to stopping an active shooter during a situation of utter chaos came after host Glenn Beck suggested that if someone else in the theater had a gun that the shooter “wouldn't have gotten off more than four shots.”

BECK: Nobody I hear is talking about this except people like us: If you had more people carrying a weapon. If people had a gun in their back and they were -- and they were licensed to carry it, that guy wouldn't have gotten off more than four shots. 

NUGENT: And I'm sure you've covered it because there was a shooting like that in a church in Aurora this year earlier. 

BECK: Yep. 

NUGENT: That was stopped because the guy had a gun. And I know the hysteria about teargas and it was dark in the theater. Glenn, I am not making this up. Last week my wife Shemane and I were filming a segment for our Spirit of the Wild show and we were shooting at watermelons surrounded by human silhouette targets just as kind of a competition and from 20 feet and from 20 yards and we were shooting from every imaginable angle, under cover, from sitting, from squatting, from prone position, from behind cover and from in the open, and we never hit an innocent and we never missed the watermelon. And I'm just a guitar player. If a guitar player can neutralize a watermelon from 20 feet -- and this is with live fire, by the way.

We would shoot while the other would take the target shots. So there was that tension of live fire. And this was done in a scenario -- and I understand it wasn't real bullets coming at us and it wasn't people screaming, running around.

GLENN:  Please.

NUGENT:  But dear God in heaven, doing nothing is not an option. Training, having a firearm to neutralize an evil gun maniac is a way to go, and we train for that. And I wish I would have been in the theater that day.

GLENN:  So do I. So do I.