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“How They Got Their Guns”

October 3, 2015

Editorial Comment:

Weapons are easily acquired throughout the world Look the film based on the story of “Lord of War.” Afterall most munitions and arms are sold everywhere in the underground let alone at shows and swap meets. The underlying assumptions of people in this land is that you can settle anything even whether you live with a gun and that somehow these make you safer. The whole affair is as American as apple pie or in this case as testosterone because most of the deaths are caused by white males. I think that there is one exception in Denver. She was on a plane around the time I was born who attempted to kill her husband.

OCT. 1, 2015

Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where he was a student. He was armed with six guns, including a Glock pistol, a Smith & Wesson pistol, a Taurus pistol and a Del-Ton assault rifle, according to The Associated Press.

  • 2008

    Mr. Harper-Mercer was in the Army for one month, but was discharged before completing basic training.

  • 2009

    He graduated from the Switzer Learning Center in Torrance, Calif., which teaches students with learning disabilities and emotional issues.


    In all, Mr. Harper-Mercer owned 14 firearms, all of which were bought legally through a federally licensed firearms dealer, a federal official said Friday. Some were bought by Mr. Harper-Mercer, and some by members of his family.

  • OCT. 1, 2015

    He killed nine people in Roseburg, Ore.

AUG. 26, 2015

Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, shot and killed a Roanoke, Va., television reporter and a cameraman with a Glock handgun while they were reporting a story live.

  • 2000

    Mr. Flanagan filed a lawsuit against a TV station in Tallahassee, Fla., that had fired him, alleging he was the victim of racial slurs and bullying.

  • 2012

    He was hired at WDBJ in Roanoke, but within months his bosses had documented problems with his harsh language and aggressive behavior. He was later fired and filed another harassment lawsuit.

  • JUNE 2015

    Federal officials said Mr. Flanagan bought the gun legally from a licensed dealer. He had not been convicted of a crime or determined to be mentally ill.

  • AUG. 26, 2015

    Mr. Flanagan killed the reporter and cameraman, injured a woman who was being interviewed and died after shooting himself.

JULY 23, 2015

Using a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol bought from a pawnshop, John R. Houser killed two people and wounded nine others at a movie theater in Lafayette, La.

  • 2006

    Mr. Houser was denied a state-issued concealed weapons permit because he was accused of domestic violence and soliciting arson.

  • 2008

    A judge ordered him sent to a psychiatric hospital.

  • 2014

    Mr. Houser bought the weapon in Alabama. Officials said it had been purchased legally, though he had been denied a concealed weapons permit earlier, and despite concerns among family members that he was violent and mentally ill.

  • JULY 23, 2015

    He killed two people in Lafayette.

JUNE 17, 2015

Dylann Roof, 21, killed nine people with a .45-caliber Glock pistol at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.

  • FEBRUARY 2015

    Mr. Roof was charged with a misdemeanor for possessing Suboxone, a prescription drug frequently sold in illegal street transactions.

  • APRIL 2015

    He purchased a gun from a store in West Columbia, S.C. Mr. Roof should have been barred from buying a gun because he had admitted to possessing drugs, but the F.B.I. examiner conducting the required background check failed to obtain the police report from the February incident.

  • JUNE 17, 2015

    Mr. Roof joined a Bible study group at Emanuel A.M.E. Church and opened fire with the gun he bought in April.

OCT. 24, 2014

Jaylen Ray Fryberg, 15, used his father’s Beretta pistol to shoot and kill four students in his high school’s cafeteria in Marysville, Wash.

  • 2002

    Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr., Jaylen’s father, was the subject of a permanent domestic violence protection order, which should have been entered into the federal criminal background database.

  • 2013

    Mr. Fryberg applied to buy the Beretta from a gun shop on the Indian reservation where he lived with Jaylen. A background check failed to come up with the protection order because it was never entered into the system.

  • OCT. 24, 2014

    Jaylen Fryberg texted five of his fellow students to come to the cafeteria, where he opened fire.

APRIL 2, 2014

Specialist Ivan Antonio Lopez opened fire at Fort Hood with a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol, killing three people and wounding 16 others.

  • 2011

    Specialist Lopez came back from a four-month deployment to Iraq and told his superiors that he had suffered a traumatic head injury there. Military officials said he had never seen combat and was being evaluated for possible post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • MARCH 2014

    Specialist Lopez had seen a military psychiatrist as recently as the month before the shooting. He was being treated for depression and anxiety, and had been prescribed Ambien to help him sleep.

  • MARCH 1, 2014

    Mr. Lopez bought his gun at the same shop where Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army major, had bought at least one of the weapons used in a 2009 mass shooting on the base that killed 13 people.

  • APRIL 2, 2014

    Around 4 p.m., Mr. Lopez started firing on soldiers.

SEPT. 16, 2013

Aaron Alexis, 34, used a Remington shotgun to kill 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

  • 2011

    Mr. Alexis was given an honorable discharge after showing what Navy officials called a “pattern of misbehavior” during four years as a reservist.


    He twice sought treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs for psychiatric issues. He told police in Rhode Island that people were pursuing him and sending vibrations through the walls of his hotel.

  • SEPT. 2013

    He was stopped from buying an assault rifle at a Virginia gun store, but was allowed to buy a shotgun. He passed local and state background checks.

  • SEPT. 16, 2013

    He killed 12 people at the Navy Yard.

DEC. 14, 2012

Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother in their home, then killed 26 people, mostly children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., using a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle and a .22-caliber Savage Mark II rifle.

  • 2009

    Mr. Lanza graduated from high school. Some classmates said he had been bullied in high school. He struggled with a developmental disorder and was described as acutely shy, not known to have close friends.


    He was “completely untreated in the years before the shooting” for psychiatric and physical ailments like anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, a state report found.


    His mother, Nancy Lanza, a gun enthusiast, legally obtained and registered a large collection of weapons and would often take her sons to shooting ranges.

  • DEC. 14, 2012

    Mr. Lanza used his mother’s guns to kill her and 26 others.

AUG. 5, 2012

Wade M. Page, 40, killed six people with a Springfield Armory semiautomatic handgun when he opened fire in the lobby of a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., as congregants arrived for Sunday services.

  • 1994

    While in the Army at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Tex., Mr. Page was charged with criminal mischief after kicking holes in the wall of a bar. He pleaded guilty.

  • EARLY 2000S

    He came to the attention of authorities because of his affiliation with a white-power band called End Apathy, which performed songs with violent lyrics.

  • JULY 2012

    He bought the firearm legally at a gun shop outside Milwaukee. He passed a background check and paid $650 in cash.

  • AUG. 5, 2012

    He killed six people and wounded three others at the temple.

JULY 20, 2012

James E. Holmes, 24, killed 12 people and wounded 70 at a theater in Aurora, Colo., using a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic rifle, a Remington shotgun and a Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

  • MARCH 2012

    Over four months, Mr. Holmes legally bought more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition for handguns, 3,000 rounds for a semiautomatic rifle and 350 shells for a 12-gauge shotgun, all over the Internet.

  • MAY 2012

    He was seeing a psychiatrist and in the process of withdrawing from a graduate program at the University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus.

  • MAY 2012

    In the 60 days before the shooting, he bought four guns legally at local gun shops. Seeing a psychiatrist, even for a serious mental illness, would not disqualify him from buying a gun.

  • JULY 20, 2012

    He opened fire in the theater, killing 12 people.

APRIL 2, 2012

One L. Goh, 43, opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun at a small religious college in Oakland, Calif., where he had been a student. He killed seven people.


    “He was a loner and what some might call a loser, but he didn’t exhibit any behaviors that would have alerted anyone,” a district attorney told reporters after the shooting, according to CNN.

  • EARLY 2012

    Mr. Goh legally bought the handgun at a gun store in Castro Valley, Calif., passing a federal background check.

  • APRIL 2, 2012

    He killed seven people at Oikos University in Oakland.

  • JAN. 2013

    A judge ruled he was not fit for trial after two psychiatric evaluations concluded that he had paranoid schizophrenia.

JAN. 8, 2011

Jared L. Loughner, 22, killed six people with a Glock handgun in a supermarket parking lot in Tucson, Ariz., at an event for Gabrielle Giffords, who was a Democratic representative from Arizona.

  • 2007

    Mr. Loughner was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, but the charges were dropped. The next year, he failed a drug test when trying to enlist in the Army. Neither incident barred him from buying a gun.

  • OCT. 2010

    He was forced to withdraw from community college because of campus officials’ fears about the safety of the staff and students, his parents later said. The incident would not have shown up on a background check.

  • NOV. 30, 2010

    He passed a background check and bought the handgun at a store in Tucson, Ariz.

  • JAN. 8, 2011

    He killed six people in Tucson.

NOV. 5, 2009

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, an Army psychiatrist facing deployment to Afghanistan, opened fire inside a medical processing building at Fort Hood in central Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 43 others. He was armed with an FN Herstal pistol.

  • DEC. 2008-JUNE 2009

    Intelligence agencies intercepted 10 to 20 messages between Mr. Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric in Yemen known for his incendiary anti-American teachings.

  • JUNE 2009

    Federal authorities dropped an inquiry about the messages after deciding that they did not suggest any threat of violence.

  • JULY 31, 2009

    Mr. Hasan bought the pistol legally at a popular weapons store in Killeen, Tex., paying more than $1,100.

  • NOV. 5, 2009

    He shot and killed 13 people at Ford Hood.

APRIL 3, 2009

Jiverly Wong, 41, fired at least 98 shots from two handguns, a Beretta 92 FS 9-millimeter pistol and a Beretta PX4 Storm pistol, inside a civic association in Binghamton, N.Y., where he had taken an English class. He killed 13 former classmates and association employees.


    Mr. Wong had been arrested, cited or had some minor contact with the police at least five times since 1990, but details about the cases remain unclear. At the time of the shootings, he was not a subject in any investigation, nor did he have a documented mental health issue.

  • MARCH 2008

    Mr. Wong bought the first gun, the Beretta 92, at a store in Johnson City, N.Y. He passed a background check.

  • MARCH 2009

    Mr. Wong bought the second gun from the same store, but his background check was not approved immediately. He received the gun under a federal rule that allows a gun to be sold if the background check system does not return a decision in three business days.

  • APRIL 3, 2009

    He killed 13 people in Binghamton.

Note: Information on the precise version or year of manufacture of each gun was not always available, so a version of the model is shown. The handguns used by Christopher Harper-Mercer are omitted because the models have not been released. The guns shown for Adam Lanza do not include the gun he used to shoot himself.




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