Movie killer able to buy gun despite mental illness
JOHN Russell Houser was deeply troubled long before he shot 11 people in a movie theatre in Louisiana, but decades of mental problems didn’t keep him from buying the handgun he used.
Despite public signs of mental illness – most importantly, a Georgia judge’s order committing him to mental health treatment against his will as a danger to himself and others in 2008 – Houser was able to walk into an Alabama shop six years handgun.
It was the weapon Houser used to kill two people and wound nine others before killing himself at a screening of the movie Trainwreck last Thursday. Three people remained hospitalised on the weekend.
Court records strongly suggest Houser should have been reported to the state and federal databases used to
later and buy a
.40- calibre 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 Georgia and has studied issues relating to weapons and the mentally ill. “I have no idea how he was able to get a firearm.”
Houser never should have been able to buy a gun, said Sheriff Heath Taylor in Russell County, Alabama, whose office denied him a concealed- weapons permit in 2006 based on arson and domestic violence allegations, even though the victims declined to pursue charges.
No evidence has surfaced of any criminal conviction that would have kept Houser from passing the background check required for many gun purchases.