Investigators still don't know what kind of weapon the Washington DC area sniper is using. They don't know if the gun was legally purchased or if the sniper is a trained shooter. What they do know is the type of bullet he's using. It's a bullet that can be used in a number of different guns. So we wanted to know how easy or difficult is it to go out and purchase a firearm?
NewsChannel 11 went to a local gun store, Sharp Shooters to find out what process if any do you have to go through to purchase a firearm. "No not anybody can buy a gun, they are going to have to pass the background check and be approved before they can make their purchase," said Charles Blackwell, Sharp Shooters Owner.
Blackwell says buying a firearm can be a time consuming process. "Anybody that buys a firearm from an FFL, a Federal Licensed Firearms dealer they have to go through this background procedure regardless of whether their buying a new or used gun."
It may not be a difficult process but it is a thorough one, anyone wanting to purchase a firearm no matter the size has to start by filling out a two page questionnaire on their background. "They put their name, Social Security number, date of birth all their pertinent information on that then we call the FBI give them all the information and they plug it into the computer. If they have any kind of criminal past or any type of prior arrest they'll automatically give a delay, at that point the Feds will look into their file and see if there is a reason to prohibit them from purchasing a fire arm or not, if not then the firearm will be released to them," said Blackwell.
Ed Hall is a gun collector, he's bought a number of guns at Sharp Shooters, so for him the process routine. "I had to fill out a form, sign my name to it, he had to call the states office, and that's all," says Hall.
Blackwell, says the questionnaire is detailed and if any red flags show up in the FBI's background check the firearm won't be sold, until the flags are cleared.