CNN Reporter: Illegal Gun Seller Would’ve Been Deterred by Background Check System

Dealer apparently avoided required background check already

A CNN correspondent stated the Odessa, Texas, shooter's gun was obtained through a purchase that revealed "a gaping hole in the background check system," despite the fact that the seller was already avoiding legal requirements to perform background checks.

"There is new information about the man who allegedly sold that gun used in the killing spree. The shooter who was shot and killed by police purchased the weapon in a private sale so no background check was needed," said CNN host Brooke Baldwin. She then asked CNN's senior justice correspondent Evan Perez about the new developments in the investigation into the shooting.

"They believe they found evidence that indicates that this person was manufacturing firearms and reselling them. Now, that could potentially be against the law because you're not allowed to make and sell firearms like a firearms dealer without a license," Perez said. "That's where investigators now are looking and are working to see whether or not they can bring charges against this individual. But, you know, this really points to a gaping hole in the background check system in this country."

"Because, as you pointed out, this is a private sale so there was no background check done," he continued. "Law enforcement has been asking for a universal background check law for years and years."

Despite having indicated the seller was already breaking the law, Perez went on to say there was a "loophole" that needs to be closed with a universal background check system.

"I think this is an example of where you have a loophole, you know, gray market, so to speak, people buy these what's called lower receivers and they add things to it and then they resell it for profit. That's potentially against the law if they can bring a case against this individual, we can probably see some charges against him in the coming days or weeks."

It is already illegal to either manufacture or sell firearms with the intention of making an income as part of a business without a license. Authorities are investigating if the gun provider was doing that. If so, he would have been required to obtain a federal license and all sales he conducted would have required a background check on the buyer, even in the absence of a universal background check system.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the shooter had previously failed a background check in 2014 due to a court determining he was mentally unfit. If the gun seller knew he was prohibited from owning guns, then he also broke additional federal laws by selling the shooter the gun. Additionally, it would be illegal for the buyer to even possess the gun regardless of whether the seller knew he was prohibited.

It's unclear why Perez identified the reportedly illegal sale as one that could have been stopped under a universal background check system, since the seller appears to have been required to obtain a license and perform background checks on all his sales but ignored those requirements.