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.
Not only did the Odessa gunman have a criminal history…
…he also previously failed a gun purchase background check in Texas…
…& he didn’t go thru a background check for the gun he used in Odessa.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 2, 2019
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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Massachusetts Gun Store Remaining Open in Defiance of Governor’s “Non-Essential” Declaration
The Gunrunner isn’t closing its doors.
A Massachusetts gun store is remaining open even after Governor Charlie Baker labeled firearm retail establishments “non-essential” and directive them to close under the commonwealth’s state of emergency declaration.
John Costa, owner of The Gunrunner in Middleboro, believes that the Second Amendment provides his gun store with authorization to remain open.
Costa explained that “under the second amendment we have every right to defend ourselves,” justifying the operations of The Gunrunner. Business has been booming at the store according to Costa, with unprecedented amounts of gun purchasers patronizing the establishment despite Baker’s command that they stay away.
Baker expressed discontent at a Wednesday press conference upon learning that some gun stores in the commonwealth were remaining open.
“They shouldn’t have been open last week. The only folks on the firearm side that have been essential been in Massachusetts since we issued the initial order are manufacturers.”
Costa is practicing social distancing measures, as well. He’s not even letting customers to enter the physical space of his store. Instead, potential gun buyers are describing the kind of gun they want for Costa to bring it out to them curbside. It’s hard to imagine more stringent social distancing measures being utilized by any business, but it’s not good enough for the commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The store has received a cease-and-desist order from town officials after declining to close in accordance with state directives. Gun stores aren’t included as essential retailers in the proclamation issued by Massachusetts’ nominally Republican governor, and he’s going to greater lengths to close them than progressive Democrats in states such as New Jersey and California. Governors and sheriffs in both states caved when the Trump administration declared firearms retailers to be essential businesses under updated DHS guidelines, but Baker is steadfast in insisting that gun retailers close.
Americans have shattered previous monthly records for firearms purchases during the month of March, showing a desire to lawfully acquire arms that correlates sharply with the coronavirus epidemic. With an unprecedented demand for guns among the public, policy makers should think twice about arbitrarily demanding the industry shut down.
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