When Dylann Roof went to purchase the gun he used to kill nine people in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., he was almost stopped. His criminal record, which included drug possession, would have prevented Roof from being allowed to buy a gun after a three-day background check. When he initially went in to buy the gun on April 11, he was refused because the store had to wait for the FBI’s approval after they conducted the background check. According to The New York Times:
Under federal law, the FBI has three days to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to deny the purchase. If the bureau cannot come up with an answer, the purchaser can return to the dealer and buy the gun.
But the disqualifying document, in which Roof admitted to drug possession, could not be tracked down before those three days were up. Apparently, there was “confusion” about where the arrest happened, which was what kept the FBI from finding the document in time. And so Roof was able to go back for the gun.
The FBI has been telling the families of the victims and FBI Director James Comey says that he and the agency “are all sick this happened. We wish we could turn back time.” But it’s not the first time loopholes such as this one have happened. The Times notes that Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho had been declared a “danger to himself” in court, but nothing had turned up when he bought his gun and killed 33 people.
Apparently, bigger outlets that sell guns, like Walmart and big corporate chains, will not sell guns if there is seemingly any chance that there could be a problem, even after the three-day window passes. But Roof had visited a smaller gun shop that decided differently.
There were a lot of folks dropping the ball to prevent something like this from happening.
(via The New York Times)