Ed Henson, owner of St. Lucie Shooting Center, gave a brief press conference yesterday afternoon detailing what transpired at his establishment that relates to the Orlando attack, which occurred Sunday morning. The attack left 49 people dead. It’s the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, with the addition of being a likely terrorist attack. Henson sold firearms to killer Omar Mateen, who had no prior criminal history. The FBI did interview him twice—once in 2013 and again in 2014—for inflammatory remarks he made about terrorism, and for allegedly watching videos of former al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki (he also reportedly visited the mosque frequented by American-born suicide bomber Moner Mohammed Abu-Salha), but both inquires ended with Mateen cleared. At the time, he didn’t break any laws.
Henson reiterated strongly that he underwent a full background check, and that he hopes the media reports on what happened at his store—and the whole attack in general—within a factual light.
“I just hope that you do some truthful reporting and get to the facts and stay focused, at least for the incident and say your prayers for the victims. It is horrific and we all feel that same pain,” he said.
Newsbusters clipped and transcribed his statement to the media, where he detailed the process of buying a firearm in Florida. He specifically singled out that there is “no such thing as an abbreviated background check.”
ED HENSON: He passed a background check that every single person that purchases a firearm in the state of Florida undergoes.
Let me say that again. A full background check was performed by Florida department of law enforcement with the coordination and agreement of the FBI, in however they conduct their backgrounds. There is no such thing as an abbreviated background check, even though that has been wrongly reported. On another note, I will tell you this for those who don't know.
If a law enforcement officer walks into this gun store, in full uniform with a firearm on their side, that officer cannot make a purchase on a firearm. If you can believe that. If that officer has a concealed carry permit in addition to his credentials he can make a purchase. There is a full background check done on that officer at that time. Hard to believe, but that's the truth. If the officer has no concealed carry permit, that officer has a three-day wait, and that doesn’t include the day he purchased the gun or any holidays and weekends.
There have been a couple questions directed to me regarding whether this evil person bought body armor here. Number one, he is familiar to me, vaguely. I don't know him personally. He has been here, obviously, he purchased two guns legally. I have no recollection of anybody asking for body armor, number one. Number two, we've never sold body armor and we don't currently sell any body armor.
Henson added that he has a good relationship with the ATF, and that authorities didn’t shut him down. He opted to remain closed so the ATF could complete the inspection of his gun store.
So, unlike what MSNBC’s Joy Reid said about this attack, this doesn’t seem to be a lax law, but a fair law. A common sense law when it comes to running background checks on gun purchases for law-abiding citizens, who aren’t insane—and don’t commit heinous violent acts. And the good news is that this process is applied to every gun purchases at a federal firearms licensed dealer.
"Florida happens to have the largest gun-owning population in the country and some of the most lax laws as to how you can get your hands on even an assault rifle," Reid said. "So if you mean to do harm, you know, we are talking about a state with 1.4 million, law abiding, obviously, gun owners, but we are not talking about that issue."
Henson did tell the media how background checks work in the state of Florida, or any other FFL dealer in the country. Yet, I bet they failed to understand what he was telling them.