FOX19 Investigation: Checks in place for buying guns online, but not ammo

Blackhawk Vest (Source:
Blackhawk Vest (Source:

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - There's been a lot of chatter in the media about the movie theater shooting suspect in Aurora, Colorado, buying his "arsenal" online.

Even though that may lead you to believe James Holmes purchased his guns on internet websites, he didn't. Probably because it's not that easy to do.

A FOX19 investigation shows that you can add any number of scary looking guns to your online cart. But when it comes time to pay, internet vendors who are following the law won't send them to your house. Instead, you'll have to pick them up at a federally licensed gun shop. You also have to go through a background check.

When you consider that your local gun shop is going to tack-on a fee for being the intermediary in the gun sale and that you're likely to have to pay shipping costs, it may be nearly as cheap to buy it from a brick-and-mortar store in the first place.

That's what Holmes did. He bought his guns at Gander Mountain Guns and Bass Pro Shops.

But what Holmes was able to buy without a background check and in any quantity he wanted online was ammunition.

And FOX19 found it easy when we went online.

We put one site's "most popular" box of ammunition in our online cart and selected 150 units. All it wanted was our address and credit card and --- had we given it --- we would've gotten all those bullets. No questions asked.

We also went to where Holmes legally purchased a Blackhawk Urban Assault Vest. It's still for sale today for $107.

Following the shooting rampage in the Aurora movie theater, many are debating whether there should be stricter laws about such things.

But Colorado's governor, a Democrat, believes Holmes would've found another way to kill.

"This person, if there were no assault weapons available, if there were no this or no that, this guy's going to find something, right?" Gov. John Hickenlooper said on CNN. "He's going to know how to create a bomb."

However, one of the nation's top law enforcement officials would like to see something done.

"We talk about this constantly," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told ABC, "and absolutely nothing happens because many of our legislators, unfortunately, at the federal level lack the courage to do anything."

FOX19 spoke with the Ohio Attorney General's Office today about gun laws in this state.

Spokeswoman Lisa Peterson Hackley said that it is legal to buy ammunition online in Ohio. But like in the rest of the country, you have to have a gun sent to a licensed dealer if you buy it online.

She said whether you buy a gun online or in person from the start, there is no waiting period in Ohio.

However, unless you're buying a gun from a private seller, you will have to go through a background check. If you buy a gun from a private seller, both of you have to be Ohio residents, she said.

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