News

U.S.

Gun Used in Texas Shooting Was Illegally Manufactured and Sold: REPORT

Officials investigate the stolen mail truck used by the shooter in Odessa, Texas, September 1, 2019. (Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters)

Authorities believe the gun used in the drive-by shooting in Midland and Odessa, Texas this past weekend was illegally manufactured and sold by a Lubbock, Texas man, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is currently investigating a man who they believe illegally manufactured and sold the AR-15-style rifle that Seth Ator used to kill seven people and injure 22 more on Saturday, before he was shot and killed by police.

Ator, 36, had previously attempted to purchase a gun from a licensed seller in January 2014, but failed the requisite background check because he’d been declared mentally unfit by a local court. A nationwide criminal-background check identified the court order and prevented the purchase, according to local authorities.

If Ator did in fact purchase the weapon through a private transaction, its seller was under no obligation to conduct a background check, but could be held criminally liable if evidence emerges that he knew his prospective customer came to him due to a previous background-check failure.

Authorities intercepted Ator outside of a movie theater, killing him only after he rampaged down a highway that links Midland and Odessa shooting indiscriminately.

Partisan tensions over gun-control legislation have escalated in recent weeks following separate mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Congressional Democrats continue to insist on universal-background-check legislation that would apply to private sales, a version of which passed the House earlier this year.

Republicans, meanwhile, remain non-committal as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refuses to endorse specific legislation.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Real Reason for That Kavanaugh Smear

The New York Times on Saturday joined The New Yorker and many other media outlets in upending a dumpster full of garbage on its own reputation in an effort to smear Brett Kavanaugh. After more than a year of digging, the Democrats and their media allies still have no supported allegations of sexual misconduct by ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Yes, They Are Coming for Your Guns

At the Democratic-primary debate in Houston last night, Beto O’Rourke formally killed off one of the gun-control movement’s favorite taunts: The famous “Nobody is coming for your guns, wingnut.” Asked bluntly whether he was proposing confiscation, O’Rourke abandoned the disingenuous euphemisms that have ... Read More