Orlando shooting has mid-Missourians questioning gun accessibility

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COLUMBIA – In the wake of the Orlando tragedy, many mid-Missourians are talking about the accessibility of guns in the state and throughout the country.

The gunman behind Friday’s attack, Omar Mateen, had legally purchased at least two guns during the week leading up the attacks. He had been previously brought in for questioning by the F.B.I., but was not viewed as a substantive threat.

Kristin Bowen, the local lead for Columbia’s Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said people who can’t legally board a plane shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun.

“Under federal law currently, it is possible for people who are on the terror watch list to obtain guns easily. That’s called the terror gap. We believe this is an issue that needs to be addressed and we are working to close this loophole allowing dangerous people to easily access guns,” Bowen said.

Some local firearms dealers also said they believe there is loophole which needs to be addressed. Mike O’Dell, the manager of Black Rifle, said the F.B.I.’s systems failed to flag Mateen.

“We are gonna see politicians who want to go after guns more, and the thing is, its not really the gun’s fault. What failed in this particular instances is the process that had set forward,” O’Dell said.

According to O’Dell, a prospective customer wanting to buy a gun from a dealer in Missouri must show valid identification and have a background check verified by the F.B.I.

“We can only go with what they tell us, and if their system is broken, they need to look back at their own system instead of coming after local firearms dealers because they are the ones who have the problem.