Texas Governor Reveals Odessa Shooter Failed Background Check

Texas Governor Greg Abbott revealed that the gunman who killed eight people in a shooting spree Saturday in Odessa had previously failed a background check during a firearms transaction.

If 36-year old Seth Ator failed a firearms transaction background check on the basis of his criminal history, it’s almost certain that the now-deceased truck driver would’ve been legally prohibited from owning or purchasing firearms. Ator went on a rampage across the city of Odessa after being fired from his trucking job on Saturday, killing seven before being neutralized by police.

Reports have already surfaced indicating that Ator pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges related to trespassing in 2002. Texas law doesn’t ban those with misdemeanor convictions from gun ownership, so it’s possible that Ator had another felony conviction that prevented him from legally buying a weapon.

The 36-year old man reportedly called the FBI hours before beginning his crime spree, upset over being fired from his trucking job. He murdered a postal service worker and stole her truck to carry out his shooting spree.

Law enforcement and journalists will now investigate how it is that Ator obtained an AR-style rifle. Some private firearms transactions that take place between individuals don’t require background checks, but sales of the sort are difficult to consistently prevent, as they avoid the existing background check and prohibited possessor system.

The prohibited possessor system exists for a reason, and it’s likely Seth Ator was appropriately barred from legally purchasing guns under the law. Slapping new restriction on transfers between individuals that take place in the light of day at gun shows and between family members is unlikely to prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining weapons.

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