The gunman who went on a rampage in West Texas Saturday was deemed mentally unfit and had been banned from buying firearms in the criminal background check system, according to the Wall Street Journal.
36-year-old Seth Ator, who a neighbor described as a "violent, aggressive person," killed seven people when he opened fire in an Odessa movie theater after being fired from his oil services job earlier that morning.
Authorities are investigating whether Ator bought the gun he used in the shooting.
Authorities Tuesday were still investigating how the gunman, 36-year-old Seth Aaron Ator, was able to buy the AR-15 style rifle used in the attack, which left seven people dead and 22 wounded. including whether he bought the gun through a private sale, the officials said.
The gunman had earlier tried to buy a gun but failed because a nationwide criminal background system flagged the mental health determination by a local court and prevented the purchase, according to the officials.
The revelation that Ator was considered a prohibited person under federal firearms laws added a new dimension to the gun debate that intensified after the shootings in Midland and nearby Odessa, Texas, which came just weeks after mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. President Trump has expressed an openness to more comprehensive background checks for prospective gun buyers, but the case shows the difficulty of preventing mass shootings, as a stronger system wouldn’t necessarily have stopped a private sale. -Wall Street Journal
The FBI announced that a preliminary investigation has ruled out domestic or international terrorism, while the Daily Beast reported that Ator had a prior criminal record for trespassing and resisting arrest.
On Sunday, President Trump said that background checks wouldn't have stopped any of America's mass shootings going back "five, six, seven years," claiming "as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it."
Trump stands strong against those who hate the Second Amendment: “I will say that for the most part, sadly, if you look at the last 4 or 5 going back, even 5 or 6 or 7 years, for the most part, as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it” pic.twitter.com/r8DC1TO1s0— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 1, 2019
"It would be wonderful to say — to say ‘eliminate,’ but we want to substantially reduce the violent crime — and actually, in any form," Trump added at the beginning of the Dorian briefing. "This includes strong measures to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous and deranged individuals, and substantial reforms to our nation's broken mental health system."
I'm often critical when politicians use mass shootings to push bills that wouldn't have stopped the shooting...but in this case it seems the House bill requiring background checks for private sales (i.e. not through a commercial dealer) may have done something https://t.co/6qdqbyUfU2— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) September 3, 2019