Speaking of things that don’t pass my smell test, here’s another piece of weirdness.
Media reports do not agree on whether the Charleston shooter bought the gun himself, or his father bought it for him.
According to CNN, Roof bought the gun himself:
One key part of this horrific scheme — the weapon — came in April, when Roof bought a .45-caliber handgun at a Charleston gun store, the two law enforcement officials told Perez and Bruer from CNN, the first network to report this development. His grandfather says that Roof was given “birthday money” and that the family didn’t know what Roof did with it.
But according to the Washington Post (and many other accounts), his father bought it for him. The WaPo story is titled ”The legal loophole that allowed Dylann Roof to get a gun“:
Dylann Roof, the man accused of a shooting spree that left nine people dead at a historic black church in Charleston on Wednesday night, should not have been able to get a gun.
Federal law prohibits people with pending felony charges from obtaining firearms. In February, Roof was arrested and later charged with felony possession of Suboxone, a narcotic prescription drug. He was released, and the case is pending.
Because of his criminal record, Roof would not have been able to buy a gun from a store. Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on gun purchasers, and Roof’s pending charges should have turned up as a red flag.
But Roof didn’t need to go to a dealership. According to his uncle, Roof received a .45-caliber pistol from his father in April for his birthday, Reuters reports.
South Carolina is one of 40 states that do not require background checks for private gun transactions, like the one that allegedly took place between Roof and his father. Gun control activists call this the “private sale” loophole.
It’s illegal to give guns to felons or people with felony indictments — but that’s only if you know about their criminal records. In South Carolina, you don’t have to ask, so private citizens can more or less freely exchange guns.
If prosecutors can show that the father knew about Roof’s indictment but gave him the gun anyway, Roof’s father could face up to 10 years in prison.
That was my first reaction when I read about Roof’s father buying him the gun while felony charges were pending.
Anyway, no matter how they spin it, gun control laws were violated.
Is anyone surprised?
And will anyone be surprised when they say that because gun control laws did not work, we need more gun control laws?
MORE: Another WaPo story uncritically repeats a dubious assertion by unnamed government “officials”:
When Roof was arrested — about 250 miles from Charleston — he had a Glock .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun that law enforcement officials said he had obtained in April, either receiving it as a birthday gift or buying it himself with birthday money. The gun was purchased legally, officials said.
If he bought it himself with a felony pending, the gun was NOT purchased legally. Nor was it purchased legally if his father bought it for him knowing about the pending felony (and the latter seems very likely).
AND MORE: Not that it would matter to a criminal bent on mass murder, but South Carolina law also prohibited Roof from carrying a handgun without a permit.
We know how well that law worked, don’t we?
MORE: The official line continues to be that Roof bought the gun legally. Here’s today’s version from USA Today:
Authorities have determined that Roof legally obtained a .45-caliber handgun earlier this year, using money likely provided as birthday gift from his family, the official said. The weapon was purchased at gun store near Columbia, S.C.
Nonsense. It is impossible for anyone with a pending felony to buy a handgun legally in a gun store. All buyers have to complete Form 4473, which asks these questions very plainly, and if the responses are other than those listed below, the sale cannot proceed.
Obviously, if Roof answered “yes” to the second question, he could not have bought the gun legally. And if he answered “no,” then he committed a federal felony, and any gun purchase would have been illegal.
This is painfully simple, and does not require a feat of great logic.
What is going on?
You’d almost think the “authorities” want Dylann Roof to have purchased the gun legally.
UPDATE (6/22/15): Now that the “legal purchase” narrative is being undermined by the pending felony, they are really scrambling to keep it alive. The latest is the claim that Roof was not arrested for a felony, but for a misdemeanor:
Nothing would have prevented Roof from buying or owning it, despite a pending drug charge, according to federal gun laws.
Contrary to some media reports, Roof’s pending drug charge was not a felony. The charge is a misdemeanor, according to a review of court records, including a copy of the warrant obtained by The Greenville News.
A spokeswoman with the State Law Enforcement Division said Roof’s criminal record incorrectly listed the pending charge as a felony due to a data entry error. The record has since been corrected to reflect it is a misdemeanor, she said.
The original police printout can be read here, and it clearly states it was a felony arrest and gives a list of these substances “MDP” (apparently that’s Methamphetamine), LSD, Cocaine, and “SUB” (presumably suboxone).
But even if the record were later corrected to call it a misdemeanor, it makes absolutely no difference, because any purchase of a gun by Roof would still be illegal. Form 4473 requires a NO answer to the following:
b. Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year?
In South Carolina, the penalties for Schedule I (LSD) and Schedule II (Cocaine) possession are as follows:
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of, a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by this article.
(d) A person who violates subsection (c) with respect to:
(1) a controlled substance classified in Schedule I (b) and (c) which is a narcotic drug or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and in Schedule II which is a narcotic drug is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.
(3) cocaine is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.
What this means is that regardless of whether his offense was listed as a felony or misdemeanor, Roof was not allowed to have legally purchased a firearm.
AND MORE: Reading the actual charge in the linked police report, it gets even more complicated, and more serious.
The report states that Roof was charged with a violation of Section 44-53-370(b)(1), which is not mere possession, but possession for sale:
SECTION 44-53-370. Prohibited acts A; penalties.
(a) Except as authorized by this article it shall be unlawful for any person:
(1) to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, purchase, aid, abet, attempt, or conspire to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase, or possess with the intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase a controlled substance or a controlled substance analogue;
(2) to create, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase, or aid, abet, attempt, or conspire to create, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase, or possess with intent to distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase a counterfeit substance.
(b) A person who violates subsection (a) with respect to:
(1) a controlled substance classified in Schedule I (b) and (c) which is a narcotic drug or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and in Schedule II which is a narcotic drug is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, for a first offense must be imprisoned not more than fifteen years or fined not more than twenty-five thousand dollars, or both. For a second offense, or if, in the case of a first conviction of violation of any provision of this subsection, the offender previously has been convicted of a violation of the laws of the United States or of any state, territory, or district relating to narcotic drugs, marijuana, depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogenic drugs, the offender must be imprisoned not less than five years nor more than thirty years, or fined not more than fifty thousand dollars, or both. For a third or subsequent offense, or if the offender previously has been convicted two or more times in the aggregate of a violation of the laws of the United States or of any state, territory, or district relating to narcotic drugs, marijuana, depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogenic drugs, the offender must be imprisoned not less than ten years nor more than thirty years, or fined not more than fifty thousand dollars, or both. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person convicted and sentenced pursuant to this item for a first offense or second offense may have the sentence suspended and probation granted and is eligible for parole, supervised furlough, community supervision, work release, work credits, education credits, and good conduct credits. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person convicted and sentenced pursuant to this subsection for a third or subsequent offense in which all prior offenses were for possession of a controlled substance pursuant to subsections (c) and (d), may have the sentence suspended and probation granted and is eligible for parole, supervised furlough, community supervision, work release, work credits, education credits, and good conduct credits. In all other cases, the sentence must not be suspended nor probation granted;
(2) any other controlled substance classified in Schedule I, II, or III, flunitrazepam or a controlled substance analogue, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, for a first offense must be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.
What this means (assuming the linked police report is correct) is that the charge is in fact a felony charge after all.