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Shouldn't This Incident Have Prevented the Jacksonville Shooter From Buying Guns?

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

As Hurricane Idalia bears down on Florida, the state is also reeling from the racially motivated Jacksonville shooting at a local Dollar General, which left three people dead. The perpetrator, Ryan Christopher Palmeter, 21, committed suicide. Palmeter was an avowed racist, with journal entries detailing his antipathy towards black Americans. He reportedly tried to attack a nearby black college but was chased off the premises by campus police.


The incident has served as a means for the liberal media to attack Gov. Ron DeSantis, who they’re indirectly blaming for this shooting due to his conservative overhaul of the state’s education policy. In liberal circles, being anti-woke caused this senseless tragedy, which is a fallacy. Sheriff T.K. Waters was more responsible in his reaction, noting that this individual's actions were to blame, not the guns. Palmeter bought his firearms legally, but there was something in Reuters’ story that should raise eyebrows [emphasis mine]: 

The white gunman who shot and killed three Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday was a 21-year-old who bought his guns legally and had no criminal history, local law enforcement said on Sunday.

The shooter, Ryan Christopher Palmeter, lived with his parents in a suburb of Jacksonville, Sheriff T.K. Waters told a news conference. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

Waters has said the shooting was racially motivated. Authorities say the shooter left behind several manifestos for media, his parents and law enforcement detailing his hatred for Black people 

"There was no criminal record, nothing," Waters said, adding the only thing on file was a domestic violence call with his brother. "There were no red flags." 

However, the sheriff said Palmeter in 2017 was briefly held under a state law called the Baker Act, which states a person can be "taken to a receiving facility for involuntary examination" during a mental health crisis. 


Shouldn’t that Baker Act exam have shown up on a background check? In the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, this was one of the areas where local and state officials were cited for letting an opportunity that could have prevented Nikolas Cruz from purchasing the AR-15 rifle used in the attack slip through the cracks. It’s an involuntary commitment that is asked on a 4473 form with the ATF. Did this incident not show up at all on a background check?

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