According to what I have been reading, Loughner purchased his handgun legally.
How could this happen?
When you purchase a handgun, you have to fill out an extensive questionnaire for the FBI background check. You answer questions about whether you have ever been convicted of a violent crime or misdemeanor, been psychologically evaluated, etc. A discrepancy in any of your answers will invalidate your right to purchase a firearm.
However, reports are suggesting that Loughner had made several explicit threats against the life of Rep. Giffords, which Sheriff Dupnick’s office had investigated but not pursued, even though the author of these threats was clearly identified.
My understanding is that any death threat constitutes assault and is grounds for an arrest and prosecution. However, Loughner was never arrested. A single arrest and conviction would have forever invalidated his right to purchase a firearm legally.
Was Dupnick’s weird and scatter shot reaction to the shooting an attempt at mass obfuscation to cover-up his own department’s malfeasance? I guess time will tell.
Maybe the real issue here is not gun laws but rather how law enforcement is far too lax in allowing people to make death threats with no consequences.
Can anyone, especially the attorneys amongst us, help shed light on this?