WASHINGTON – The shooter at the Navy Yard purchased a shotgun legally in Virginia Saturday. Despite his run ins with the police and mental health issues, there were apparently no red flags on his background check by the gun dealer.
The shotgun, the only one Aaron Alexis brought into the Navy Yard, was purchased at Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in Lorton, Va..
“Sharpshooters fully complies with all requirements to conduct background checks on all potential purchases,” an email statement from store management said.
The statement also said the store would have no further comment.
The response was similar from the person at the front door of the Lorton store Tuesday morning.
An instant background check would not have turned up the two arrests in other states because they did not lead to charges. Virginia law lists 19 reasons why such purchase can be prohibited, including a criminal conviction, admission to a mental health facility or dishonorable discharge from the military.
Alexis was never admitted to a mental health facility, though he had sought treatment for mental health issues.
His Navy record indicates some trouble but he had a general discharge in 2011.
Police originally said that Alexis had an AR-15, a handgun and a shotgun when he was confronted inside the Navy Yard. But on Tuesday, law enforcement indicated Alexis did not use the AR-15 found at the scene of the shootings.
It was not immediately clear whether the rifle belonged to law enforcement or a security officer responding to the gun battle. Law officers told the Associated Press Tuesday that Alexis used the shotgun he had purchased and two handguns that he took away from law enforcement officers at the scene.
The New York Times also reports that last week, Alexis test fied an AR-15 assault rifle at a Virginia gun store. He wasn’t able to purchase it however because state law doesn’t allow the sale of those weapons to out-of-state buyers.
The NY Times quotes a law enforcement official as saying, ” “The gun was broken in half and he had it in a bag…He went inside the building and assembled it in a bathroom.”
Follow @hsilverbergwtop and @WTOP on Twitter.
This story has been modified to correct what day Aaron Alexis bought the shotgun in Virginia.