Movie killer able to buy gun de­spite men­tal ill­ness

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

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.

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