Nearly three months after Robert R. Card II shot and killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, a gun store owner said he had a mental health condition after he disclosed on a form After the problem, a gun store refused to let him complete the purchase of a firearm silencer. in an interview on Sunday.
On Aug. 5, Mr. Card, 40, went to Coastal Defense Firearms in the neighboring town of Auburn and purchased a silencer, said gun store owner Rick LaChapelle. LaChapelle said Card purchased the device, which can silence gunshots and is sometimes called a silencer, from another store and that store sent it to Coast Defense Firearms for pickup.
The purchase attempt was one of the first signs that Mr Card admitted to having mental health issues. ABC News first reported the purchase attempt.
Questions about Mr. Card’s mental health and his use of firearms have been a key issue in mass shooting investigations. In the shootings, Mr. Card killed 18 people and injured 13 others at a bowling alley and a bar.
During a recent visit to a National Guard training facility outside Peekskill, New York, Card, an Army reservist, had a confrontation with officers and was later evaluated at a mental health facility, according to a senior law enforcement official. But Maine Public Safety Commissioner Michael J. Sauschuck said Saturday that he had no information indicating Card had been forced into mental health treatment. Sosak did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
LaChapelle said when Mr Card tried to pick up the suppressor he admitted on a 4473 form that he had a mental health problem. Form 4473 is a federal document that must be filled out and signed to retrieve firearms and firearms equipment such as suppressors, and is used to determine whether someone can legally complete a purchase.
It was unclear whether he had indicated any mental health issues in the past on other forms related to gun purchases. Officials said Mr. Card’s weapons were purchased legally. This means that if he purchased the gun from a licensed dealer, he would have passed a background check, which includes determining whether he is mentally fit to own a gun.
The FBI said in a statement that there was no information about Mr. Card in its background check system that would have prevented him from legally purchasing a gun.
On the Mr. Card form 4473 filled out in August, one of the questions asked: “Have you ever been adjudged mentally defective or Have you ever been admitted to a mental hospital? ” According to LaChapelle, who also serves as a Lewiston City Council member, Mr. Card checked the box and agreed.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, two criteria under federal law prohibit people with mental health issues from purchasing or possessing firearms equipment such as firearms and silencers.
The first is whether a court or other legal authority has determined that a person is “mentally defective.” One of the determining factors is whether the person is a danger to themselves or others because of their mental health issues.
The second is whether a person has been “committed to a mental institution,” meaning that the person has been involuntarily admitted to a court or other authority due to mental illness or drug abuse. People willing to go to a mental hospital for treatment do not fall within this definition.
The gun store staff waited until Mr. Card signed the paperwork before refusing to give him the silencer. LaChapelle said Mr Card’s response was “very warm and very polite”.
“He said, ‘No problem. OK, let my lawyer take a look at it and I’ll come back and get it later,'” Mr. LaChapelle added. “He then left the store and never came back.”
In an interview Saturday, Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry issued an alert to all law enforcement agencies in Maine after learning of Mr. Card’s threats against the military base where he was based. It’s unclear whether other police agencies saw the alert.
Serge F. Kovaleski and Nicholas Bogle Burroughs Contributed reporting.