A Florida man who asked a Walmart employee to sell him a gun that “would kill 200 people” has revealed that his request was really a gun-control stunt.
In an interview that aired Thursday, Philip Attey told NBC affiliate WPTV that he “got mad” when he entered the store and saw a “white nationalist-looking guy purchase a gun.”
“I confronted the sales clerk and asked a simple question,” he said.
According to WPTV, the clerk responded by saying, “That’s not funny.”
Attey, a resident of Port St. Lucie, then repeated his request that the clerk sell him “anything, or a gun, that would kill 200 people.”
According to Attey, his goal was to make people “think about their role in the gun violence toxic climate that we have.” He said he was a longtime gun control advocate, but conceded that in this case his activism “was in poor taste.”
In his defense, Attey claimed that he spoke with the Walmart chain’s manager after the incident and explained his motives.
“He knew that what I was doing wasn’t in intent to harm anyone,” Attey said. “It was to get them to wake up and think about their role in the gun violence toxic climate that we have.”
Phillip Attey and a nation on the edge after two weekend mass shootings
However, someone apparently alerted authorities. On alert after two mass shootings last weekend – at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and downtown in Dayton, Ohio – police launched a manhunt for the gun-seeker and issued public plea for help identifying him.
St. Lucie Police said an anonymous tip led them to Attey. They do not consider him a threat.
As usual after such tragedies, emotions have run high. Attey is not the only gun control advocate to face backlash for his outraged commentary.
- Philip Attey.: Screen grab