Originally published June 21 2015
Questions mount over Charleston shooter's alleged murder weapon as narrative keeps changing on how he obtained it
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) As more is learned about Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old who has admitted to killing nine African American members of a traditionally black church in Charleston, S.C., as they were engaged in Bible study, there have been a number of questions raised, and some have been answered.
But already, there is a growing controversy, and it involves the weapon he allegedly used in the murders.
Where did Roof get his .45 cal. pistol? Initial reports said that he was given the gun by his father for Roof's 21st birthday. This report from Raw Story was typical of the early reporting regarding the origins of Roof's handgun:
The man suspected of fatally shooting nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, was given a gun by his father as a 21st birthday present in April, his uncle told Reuters on Thursday.
Roof's father gave him a .45-caliber pistol for his birthday this year, [uncle Carson] Cowles said.
Conflicting details regarding acquisition of the murder weapon
Also, this report from CNN within hours of the shooting:
It's uncertain who bought the gun Roof used.
A senior law enforcement source told CNN the suspect's father had recently bought him a .45-caliber gun for his 21st birthday in April.
Reuters reported as well:
Cowles said he recognized Roof in a photo released by police, and described him as quiet and soft-spoken. Roof's father gave him a .45-caliber pistol for his birthday this year, Cowles said.
But in that same story by CNN and in a subsequent, follow-up report (here), the network reported something different:
One key part of this horrific scheme -- the weapon -- came in April, when Roof bought a .45-caliber handgun at a Charleston gun store, the two law enforcement officials told Perez and Bruer from CNN, the first network to report this development. His grandfather says that Roof was given "birthday money" and that the family didn't know what Roof did with it.
So, which is it? Did his father – who has not been heard from yet – buy the gun or did the son buy it himself?
Does it matter? It might.
You may recall that early reports also noted that Roof already has a pending felony charge against him. In February, he was arrested and charged with felony possession of Suboxone, a narcotic prescription drug. He was released, but his case is pending.
And so, according to The Washington Post, Dylann Roof should not have been able to buy a gun, from a gun store anyway. Dealers are required to run background checks on all purchases, and Roof's pending felony case would have been a huge red flag.
But if Roof got the gun from his father, then he would have been able to avoid that red flag because he didn't try to buy it himself.
The Post story is lamenting this as a gun law "loophole," and indeed it may be:
South Carolina is one of 40 states that do not require background checks for private gun transactions, like the one that allegedly took place between Roof and his father. Gun control activists call this the "private sale" loophole.
It's illegal to give guns to felons or people with felony indictments — but that's only if you know about their criminal records. In South Carolina, you don't have to ask, so private citizens can more or less freely exchange guns.
How did Roof really get his gun?
If Roof's father gave his son a gun knowing that he had a pending felony case, the dad could be charged and, if found guilty, sentenced to as many as 10 years in jail himself.
Why would he risk that?
Maybe Roof already owned the weapon he allegedly used in the attack – which was found on him at the time of his arrest – prior to his felony arrest. If so, he would have been permitted to keep it.
But none of this jibes with the CNN report that Roof bought a gun with birthday money he received in April.
We're not sure yet where all of this will lead, but what is clear is that, already, there is a controversy in that the gun narrative is shifting, and someone isn't being truthful or accurate in reporting regarding the alleged murder weapon.
Time will tell who is the guilty party.
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