Law enforcement officials suspect the rifle used by the shooter in a West Texas mass shooting on Saturday was illegally manufactured and sold.
Authorities have identified a “person of interest” whom they think may have been buying various gun parts to build his own firearms and then reselling them, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Lubbock, Texas man’s identity has yet to be released, according to the outlet.
While private sales are legal under federal law and allow individuals to purchase firearms without undergoing a background check – a point of concern for many gun control advocates – manufacturing guns without a license is illegal.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that officials said mass shooter Seth Ator, 36, had been barred from possessing firearms because a court previously deemed him mentally unfit.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that Seth Ator failed a background check before carrying out the attack. In a tweet, Abbott also said that Ator did not undergo a background check to buy the gun he used in the shooting.
According to the Wall Street Journal, authorities are not sure if the man who sold Ator the rifle was aware he was barred from owning guns and are investigating whether he was selling guns illegally.
Officials continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding how Ator bought the rifle he used to kill seven people and wound 22 others.
“deranged shooters find ways to get their hands on weapons”
In a series of tweets on Thursday, The Federalist’s David Harsanyi argued that the revelation countered claims that Ator had legally obtained the rifle used in the shooting.
“It looks like the gun he used was illegally manufactured and sold. Proving not that universal background checks are needed, but that deranged shooters find ways to get their hands on weapons,” Harsanyi said.
It looks like the gun he used was illegally manufactured and sold. Proving not that universal background checks are needed, but that deranged shooters find ways to get their hands on weapons. https://t.co/do0w8WBlI3
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) September 5, 2019
“It is illegal to manufacture and sell guns without a license. And it was illegal for the shooter to buy a gun,” Harsanyi added in a followup tweet.