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John Russell Houser was not mentally well for over a decade, but that didn’t stop him from being able to purchase the gun he used to shoot 11 people at a Lafayette movie theater on Thursday.

Back in 2008, a Georgia judge ruled that Houser was a danger to himself and others, before ordering that he take part in mental health treatment. Still, six years later, Houser was able to walk into a pawn shop and buy a .40-caliber handgun.

According to Fox News:

Court records reviewed by The Associated Press strongly suggest Houser should have been reported to the state and federal databases used to keep people with serious mental illnesses from buying firearms, legal experts said.

“It sure does seem like something failed,” said Judge Susan Tate, who presides over a probate court in Athens, Georgia, and has studied issues relating to weapons and the mentally ill. “I have no idea how he was able to get a firearm.”

After passing a background check, Houser was able to make the purchase:

Houser racked up plenty of complaints, but no evidence has surfaced of any criminal conviction that would have kept him from passing the background check required for many gun purchases. Federal law does generally prohibit the purchase or possession of a firearm by anyone who has ever been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.

We are keeping the victims of this horrific tragedy and their loved ones in our prayers.


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