Nikolas Cruz, the accused Florida school shooter, had purchased at least seven long guns in the past year, police have announced. However, they also revealed something that proves stricter gun laws would not have stopped him.
Yesterday, a police source revealed to the media that Nikolas Cruz had legally purchased seven long guns, including an AK-47. Cruz had passed all the necessary background checks to purchase the guns over the past year.
Cruz may have been stopped from buying the guns legally if authorities had been made aware of his violent behavior at school. It’s a proposal President Trump and many Republicans are embracing, as the link between mental illness and mass shooters has been made clear. Flagging individuals for violent or disturbing behavior, even if they are not convicted of a crime, would have made it harder for them to buy guns.
If a background check would have revealed that local police had been called to Cruz’s home 39 times, and his violent behavior at school, his plans for a mass shooting might have been revealed.
However, the police source has also revealed something that no gun control law could stop: Cruz bought at least three long guns illegally. It’s one of the reasons why cities like Chicago, which has some of the nation’s strict gun control laws, also leads the nation in murders.
It is not clear how Nikolas Cruz bought the illegal guns.
Second Amendment advocates argue that even if America enacted the most severe gun bans -as we see in Australia – the guns would flow in from China and Russia, two major sources of guns.
Nikolas Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of murder after the slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, owned an assortment of firearms as well as the rifles.
A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said he had bought at least seven of the guns legally, with the other three firearms in his 10-gun arsenal bought illegally.
Federal law allows those 18 and over to buy rifles – and Cruz passed background checks necessary to obtain the weapons over roughly a year leading up to the shooting.
DailyMail.com revealed on Thursday that Cruz had bought an AK-47-style assault rifle from a gun store in Deerfield Beach, Florida, less than a month ago and passed all necessary background checks.
Speaking to DailyMail.com, owner of Gun World of South Florida Kim Waltuch, 54, of Parkland, said Cruz had done nothing to arouse suspicion during the purchase process and had appeared normal to her staff. He also bought a shotgun from the same store in 2016.
‘He purchased a shotgun and an AK-47,’ she said. ‘He purchased a shotgun in 2016 and he purchased the AK in January.
‘He was not a regular customer of ours. He did purchase firearms from us but it was not the AR-15 [thought to have been used in the killing spree].
‘We went through the process of the background checks which is the only way we release a firearm. He was immediately approved.’
The AK-47, also referred to as a Kalashnikov, is a semi-automatic assault rifle that was originally designed for use by the Soviet Army and was first fired in 1948.
Prices start at around $400 and go up to $1,000 depending on the model. A similar weapon to Cruz’ that was seen on sale at the Deerfield Beach store on Thursday was priced at $869.99.
The AK-47 was not used during Cruz’s killing spree.
Shortly after the shooting, several legislative leaders were taken on a tour of the school to see the damage firsthand and they appeared shaken afterward.
‘I really think they are going to hear us out,’ said Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior who is going on the trip. He said he hopes the trip will lead to some ‘commonsense laws like rigorous background checks.’
The attack last Wednesday seemed to overcome the resistance of some in the state’s leadership, which has rebuffed gun restrictions since Republicans took control of both the governor’s office and the legislature in 1999.
However, there is still strong resistance by many in the party to any gun-control measures, leaving the fate of new restrictions unclear.
Senator Bill Galvano, a Republican and the incoming Florida senate president, said the state senate was preparing a package that would include raising the age to purchase any firearm to 21, creating a waiting period for purchasing any type of firearm, banning bump stocks that can allow semi-automatic guns to spray bullets quickly and creating gun-violence restraining orders.
Authorities said suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, had a string of run-ins with school authorities that ended with his expulsion.
Police also were repeatedly called to his house throughout his childhood. Cruz’s lawyers said there were repeated warning signs that he was mentally unstable and potentially violent.
Yet he legally purchased a semi-automatic rifle.
‘We need to make sure everything is working and to learn from the experience,’ said Galvano, who was among those who visited the school.
The senate is also considering boosting spending on mental health programs for schools and giving law-enforcement greater power to involuntarily hold someone considered a danger to themselves.
The body will also look at a proposal to deputize a teacher or someone else at school so they are authorized to have a gun.
Galvano said senators want to examine ways to protect schools that do not have resource officers – often armed law enforcement officers – on site.