After 17 Florida high school students were killed by a lone gunman on Wednesday, questions were raised about how the troubled 19 year-old was able to legally obtain the weapon he used in the attack.

KGVO News spoke with co-owner of Axmen Firearms in Missoula, Damon Maxwell Brucker, about the procedures an individual must go through to legally purchase a firearm.

“Here in Montana, we follow the federal guidelines for the transfer of any firearm, whether it’s a rifle, a shotgun, a handgun, any transfer of a firearm, it has to go through the NICS system, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and it uses the FBI database system to make sure its legal for someone to own a firearm,” said Brucker.

Regarding the mental health status of the customer, Brucker said the system offers three basic responses.

“We either get a response to ‘proceed’, meaning that it is OK to transfer the firearm to that person that day, or we get ‘delayed’ which means the NICS system gets three additional working days to continue the background check, or we get a flat out ‘denial’, “ he said. “From what I’ve been told, the data bases are fed by a variety of sources, both law enforcement and some degree of mental health evaluations. There’s a question on the 4473, which is the form that you fill out, that asks if they’ve ever been ‘adjudicated mentally defective’, and that would be checked against the answer they provide. The background check will catch that on the federal level.”

Brucker said the demand for firearms and ammunition has leveled off since the election of Donald Trump, after the nearly frantic demand during the eight years that Barack Obama was in office.

19 year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of deliberate homicide after the incident in Broward County, Florida.



More From KMPT-AM