The Navy Yard gunman rented an AR-15 and practised with it at a Virginia gun store two days before carrying out his massacre but was stopped from buying the assault rifle by the state’s gun laws, it has emerged.
Aaron Alexis instead picked up a police-style, 12-gauge pump action shotgun, which he was carrying as he entered the base where he shot 12 people dead.
As a renewed national debate rages over background checks for gun buyers, an employee of the store said Alexis ‘didn’t need a background check.’
Alexis purchased a ‘very basic’ six-round Remington 870 shotgun for $419 from Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in Lorton, Virginia, another store clerk said, noting that it was the ‘cheapest [shotgun] on the rack.’
According to a Washington Timesreporter who store employees said uses the Sharpshooters firing range ‘all the time,’ Alexis made his purchase on Sunday and easily passed two separate background checks.
J. Michael Slocum, a lawyer representing the store, said that all procedures were followed before staff handed over the gun.
‘In accordance with Federal law, Mr. Alexis’ name and other applicable information, including his state of residency, was provided to the Federal NICS system and he was approved by that system,’ he told NBC News.
‘After the terrible and tragic events at the Navy Yard, Sharpshooters was visited by federal law enforcement authorities, who reviewed the Range’s records, including video and other materials.’
The store’s attorney confirmed that Alexis bought two boxes of shotgun shells when he purchased the firearm on Sunday, telling The Washington Post that he test-fired a rifle on the store’s shooting range, but bought only the shotgun.
He was prevented from buying the AR-15, which can fire many more shots before reloading, because Virginia laws ban the sale of such weapons to buyers from other states, two senior law enforcement officials told theNew York Times.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk