In the early morning hours of Sunday, April 22, 2018, a 29-year-old man killed four people in an Antioch, Tennessee Waffle House.
Last year, in July 2017, he took a trip to the White House and was arrested by the United States Secret Service. As a result of the incident there in Washington, D.C., the man’s Illinois firearms license was taken back, making it illegal for him to both own or carry guns in the state of Illinois. However, experts on gun ownership laws aren’t sure if he was legal in carrying them to Tennessee.
Lawyer and Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson was quoted as saying, “I don’t know that he would have violated any Tennessee law,” by having guns within the state’s borders. Marcus Watson, an ATF agent, disagreed, stating the shooter “should not have had weapons.”
Now, looking at the incident in hindsight, it’s clear that the man had a mental illness of some sort. During an encounter with Tazewell County, Illinois police officers, he thought that country music superstar – that’s right – was both following him and remotely messing with his phone.
Just three months after that May 2016 incident, he shared with police during a phone call that he needed to fill out a police report in regards to some 25 people that were all gaining unauthorized access onto his computer and smartphone.
After the apprehension of the Waffle House shooter, a handful of guns were taken by the police. They were given back to the man’s father, and were not to be given back to him. However, once he entered Tennessee, that restriction didn’t hold true anymore.
According to an official spokesperson of the TBI – Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – Susan Niland, the shooter could have easily purchased a gun in Tennessee if he had wanted to, even though that AR-15 used in the attack came from a long-long-ago purchase from Illinois.
Even though he had his guns taken away in Illinois, and the TBI’s background checks make sure that people from other states who are not allowed to own firearms, no such information or disclaimers came back on the TBI’s background check function.
Tennessee state Democrats recently desired to slap misdemeanor charges on people in possession of firearms if they previously had been ordered to relinquish them and not own any, though the Republican-heavy state Legislature likely isn’t having it.