In one of the most heinous acts of terrorism committed in modern times on the soil of the United States, the pair of immigrant bombing suspects in Boston apparently had trouble laying hands on firearms.
The two suspects in the Boston bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 and his brother Dzhokhar, engaged police in multiple active firefights across the city. The thing is, according to a Reuter's article, they were not licensed to own guns in the town where they lived. Neither brother had a firearms card (FID) on file with the Cambridge Police Department, a requirement of local and state law. The younger brother, only aged 19, was not eligible to apply for handgun ownership at all. In Massachusetts, you must present your FID or LTC to purchase or posses any ammunition or reloading components. Just being in possession of a fired.22 casing is a crime, without a gun license, much less a gun itself.
Therefore, the weapons in their possession were illegally owned for the jurisdiction they lived in.
Resorted to bombing
Bombs are and always have been the terrorist's simple weapon of choice. In the 1900s, a series of 'anarchist bombers' brought terrorism to our shores for the first time. In 1919 anarchist followers of Luigi Galleani sent no less than 36 dynamite bombs through the mail, targeting John Rockefeller, senators, newspaper editors, the postmaster general, mayors, and police chiefs. The worst school killing of all time in the country, that at the Bath Consolidated School in 1927 in which 37 children were killed was committed by resident Andrew Kehoe with farm use explosives. The Unabomber, Timothy McVey, Eric Rudolf, all men with perceived grudges against society, turned to bombs because they were cheap, murderously effective, and their components are often normal household items.
This surely led the suspects to choose their own pressure cooker bombs. They experimented with different legal fireworks before making their improvised explosive devices. It is believed that the fireworks bought, some $200 worth of large pyrotechnics, were not used in the Boston bombings, as video of the explosions does not exhibit colored smoke, sparklers, etc.
Attacked cop to get guns
CBS Boston reported yesterday that the Tsarnaev brothers were short of illegally obtained guns. So short in fact, that they attacked MIT police officer Sean Collier. According to written interviews with suspect Dzhokhar in the hospital, the pair ambushed the young officer as he sat in his squad car.
"The older brother had a gun. They wanted to get a gun for the younger brother and the fastest and most efficient way they could think of doing it was a surprise attack on a cop, to take his weapon and go"
In a testimony to why level III retention holsters were invented, the two were unable to retrieve Officer Collier's duty weapon from his belt even after the assassination took place.
The two suspects will no doubt be the subject of millions of hours of analysis over the coming decades. For now a few interesting aspects are clearly apparent. In the end, it shows that if you ban guns, then only the criminals will have guns.
On the matter of explosives, these have long been regulated. While farm use dynamite and agricultural charges were readily available to Andrew Kehoe in 1927 and the Anarchists of 1919, they are strictly controlled these days. The pair of suspects bought legal consumer fireworks (which are highly regulated) and when they found these devices, even when used in quantity, incapable of performing as explosives, they moved to something else. This shows that while the existing laws work, those bent on doing harm will go outside of the law to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction.
Meanwhile, never to let a crisis pass without taking advantage of it for political gain, Mayor Bloomberg has already come out and said that the interpretation of the Constitution will 'have to change' after the Boston Bombing.
Stay safe out there. Firearms Talk will keep you abreast of updates as they come in.