KILLEEN, Texas (AP) — Guns are wall-to-wall at the Guns Galore shop near Fort Hood, and so are posters: No Idiots Allowed. This Isn't a Place for Children to Play. Firearm Trafficking is Illegal.
But now that a second mass shooting at the Texas military base has been linked to guns bought at the squat brick store, which promises "3,000 Guns In Stock," the message Guns Galore clerks are emphasizing is don't blame them.
Fort Hood officials say Guns Galore, perched along the main road to the nation's largest Army post, is where Spc. Ivan Lopez bought the .45-caliber pistol used to kill three people and wound 16 others this week. It also sold a semi-automatic pistol, laser sights and high-capacity magazines in 2009 to Nidal Hasan, who then killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others in a base rampage.
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the senior officer at Fort Hood, said Lopez bought the gun on March 1, about a month before Wednesday's attack. Hasan also bought his FN 5.7 tactical pistol not long before his rampage in November 2009.
Lopez turned the gun on himself after being confronted by police Wednesday. Before the attack, he was being treated for depression and anxiety while being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder. Milley said investigators believe Lopez's unstable mental health condition may be an underlying cause of the shooting.
Greg Ebert, a longtime salesman at Guns Galore, said the store couldn't comment on Lopez. But he bristled at anonymous angry callers and emails the store has been receiving, which he said included some asking if they're now happy more people are dead.
"We had nothing to do with what happened out here," said Ebert, emphasizing that he was speaking for himself and not the store. "If you want to blame somebody, go to the FBI and to the government at Fort Hood, and ask them why someone who was being psychologically evaluated wasn't flagged."
The 34-year-old truck driver from Puerto Rico seemed to have a clean record, but investigators are now poring through Lopez's personal history.
Federal law generally prohibits selling guns to people who've been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility or have been ruled by a court to be a danger to themselves or others. Gun control advocates say that leaves a gaping loophole during computer background checks.