The FBI reports that Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof should not have been allowed to purchase the gun he used during the attack.
FBI Director James Comey said Roof was arrested for weeks before the shooting, but he was still able to purchase a gun because the paperwork for the offense was incomplete and inaccurate at the time, according to the Associated Press.
Those who wish to purchase a gun in South Carolina must undergo an FBI background check, however, if state and federal records are not up to date at the time of the background check, anyone who shouldn’t normally be able to buy a gun, like Roof, can slip through the cracks.
The FBI examiner who conducted Roof’s background check didn’t see that he had previously been arrested for admitting to possessing drugs due to issues on the rap sheet.
This arrest should have disqualified him from purchasing a gun, according to FBI rules, but he was able to get the gun within three days because the examiner didn’t have sufficient information to deny him.
An error like this reveals huge issues in state gun laws and the background check process, but is South Carolina the only state where this mistake could happen? What are the gun laws in Arizona?
Similar to South Carolina, those who wish to purchase a gun in Arizona must also undergo an FBI background check since neither state is a point of contact for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which would allow the state to conduct its own background check using state and federal records and databases.
If the person already has an Arizona state permit to purchase or possess a firearm, they may be exempt from a background check. Even if they have committed crimes what would make them ineligible to possess a gun, they may be protected by their old permit if the state doesn’t update its records before they can make a purchase.
This means that yes, someone like Roof who is considered a prohibited possessor and shouldn’t be allowed to possess or purchase any type of firearm could still be able to get a gun in Arizona.