Florida Shooter Legally Purchased AR-15 Rifle

The Associated Press reports:

A law enforcement official is telling The Associated Press that a former student who killed 17 people at a Florida school legally purchased his AR-15 rifle about a year ago. The official is familiar with the investigation into the school shooting but not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Federal law allows people 18 and over to legally purchase long guns. At 21, people can legally buy handguns from a licensed dealer.

An attorney representing the family who had taken in Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz says they’re shocked by what happened and had no idea he was planning anything. Jim Lewis told The Associated Press on Thursday that Cruz began living with the family after his mother died in November. He said Cruz was quiet and very respectful but also sad. Lewis says Cruz had an AR-15 rifle in the home with them but it was kept in a locked cabinet.

USA Today reports:

A Las Vegas concert. An Orlando night club. An elementary school in Newtown, Conn. A Texas church. And now a high school in Parkland, Fla. America’s most popular weapon was there for all of them.

AR-15-style rifles have increasingly appeared in American mass shootings, including the deadliest high school shooting in the nation’s modern history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday. The National Rifle Association has called the AR-15 the “most popular rifle in America” and estimates Americans own more than 8 million of them.

The NRA said “the AR-15 has soared in popularity” because it’s “customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate.” It is also versatile and can be used for “sport shooting, hunting and self-defense situations,” the NRA said, adding the ability to “personalize” so many of the rifle’s components “is one of the things that makes it so unique.”

  • PickyPecker
  • Bluto
  • FAEN

    He couldn’t legally drink but could purchase a killing machine. Something is clearly wrong here.

    • Rambie

      Alcohol is bad… m’kay?

      • Silver Badger

        I hate it with a passion.

    • Friday’s_cat

      Yeah, it’s the disease called republican.

    • Silver Badger

      To be fair, he could purchase 3.2 beer. Perhaps he should have been limited to a cap gun.

      • To be fair…do you really think he would drive from Florida to Minnesota, Kansas or Utah just to buy 3.2 beer? ;-)) smooches!

        • Silver Badger

          I thought it was nationwide. The rational was if a boy was old enough to be drafted and die for his country, he should be able to buy beer and vote.

          • I thought it (3.2 beer) was a thing of the past…had to look it up to find that it still exists in five states but two of them (Oklahoma & Colorado) are phasing it out in 2018 and 2019

          • Silver Badger

            As a non-drinking senior, I haven’t researched it for quite some time.

          • Don’t play the eldergay card with me! (66 here)

          • Silver Badger

            I was actually playing the non-drinker card. Still and all, growing older is the penalty you pay for not dying young.

          • Queen please! I’ve been clean and sober since spring 1989! Smooches

          • Silver Badger

            I can’t say that. I’m allergic to alcohol and have no choice in the matter. Fortunately, I live in Colorado. Next time you’re in town, I’ll roll a fat one for you. Then take the money and buy you a joint.

          • Are you a Honey Badger? ;-))

          • Silver Badger

            Can be. Would rather not, but as you get older, you are willing to leave less and less unsaid.

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    You have to wait until you are 21 to buy a handgun, but can buy an AR-15 at 18 years old?

    • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly


    • The_Wretched

      In case you want to hunt a herd of caribou all at the same time. I hear they are good for salmon fishing when the salmon are running to.


  • Friday’s_cat

    Shame the NRA and their republican sycophants on your social media page. Call them out on the immorality of enabling mass murders for blood money. Be creative and when possible name the republicans in your state and district. Example.
    republican Senator Pat Toomey and Representative Lloyd Smucker, you claim to be Christian, how will you answer Jesus when He asks what you did to protect His children?

  • AmeriCanadian

    In my youth guns like these were called machine guns and regular citizens could not buy them. WTF happened????

    • Dreaming Vertebrate

      ReTHUGS packed the court with creepy NRA-luvin’ wingnuts like Scalia.

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Sorry, but if you’re hunting a baby deer named Bambi with an AR-15, that’s not exactly “sport shooting”. Silly NRA!

  • another_steve

    I can understand the argument that says that sane and peaceful people should be permitted to own firearms, but there’s absolutely zero argument for keeping legal the sale of weapons like the one Cruz used. Zero.

    It’s pure insanity.

  • M Jackson

    Whew, good thing Obama never got around to taking away everyone’s guns. I remember when it was just about to happen.

    • carrot festival

      I wonder what happened to all those special vans they were going to use?

  • Gustav2

    “Lewis says Cruz had an AR-15 rifle in the home with them but it was kept in a locked cabinet.”

    BFD According to WaPo the shooter had a key to the cabinet

    • AmeriCanadian

      At which point the “locked cabinet” is completely moot.

      • Gustav2

        The attorney for the family is trying to mitigate any possible lawsuits/blame

        • Joe in PA

          Zactly what I was thinking. This family lawyers up within hours?

          • Gustav2

            This is not a poor neighborhood. My attorney’s card is always in my wallet.

          • Silver Badger

            Very wise of them. They took in this orphan and tried to help him. No good deed goes unpunished.

          • Joe in PA

            Yeah, I know. I wish they had been as wise when they saw him buy an assault rifle. (I’m not being snarky with you, just honest). It is all just so sad and preventable.

          • Silver Badger

            No, of course not. They are in Florida, which has an odd idea of gun ownership, but that shouldn’t make a difference.

      • Silver Badger

        A “locked cabinet” is moot for any teenager.

  • Silver Badger

    Perhaps if we want real action, a fund should be established to help minorities to purchase AR15’s. Equality on a basic American right. /s (Mostly.)

    • Chris Baker

      I don’t know the real statistics, but it seems like minority communities are most affected by gun violence, so we should be getting guns to those people, right? I mean, they need the most protection and means of self defense.)

    • I know you are being sarcastic. Right? That is the last thing people need.

      • Silver Badger

        Mostly. I have edited my post accordingly. However. The gun nuts would be concerned is every black, gay, Muslim, or Jew were appropriately armed to protect themselves.

        • Steve Teeter

          The comic strip “Sylvia” ran a piece with Sylvia talking to a guy in a bar.
          Guy: It’s simple. I have a right to keep and bear arms. It’s in the Constitution.
          Sylvia: I agree completely. I’d like to see a lot more women carrying guns.
          Guy: …..
          Sylvia: Cat got your tongue?

    • olandp

      As Governor of California Ronald Reagan was anti gun control until those negros*, The Black Panthers, started showing up armed to the teeth. It was only then that he decided some legislation would be appropriate. Have we had a mass shooting committed by a black man? All of them that I know about were done by white men/boys/manboys.


  • Skeptical_Inquirer

    It’s still infuriating that the hill so many churches want to die on is reproductive autonomy and consensual sex but are dead quiet on this.

    • Chris Baker

      Well, there is the corresponding narrative of how the coming communist government will force them to close their churches and send them all to labor camps, so they need to defend themselves.

      (The have a logic failure, since they have faith in God to give them a good job, cure their health issues, help them pass a math test, get that promotion, but is apparently powerless to protect their life.)

    • jimbo65

      The Gop have thrown their lot in with the evangelicals. So for the evangelicals to say anything about this issue would have maybe an alienating effect. They need each other to gin up the crazy.

  • In America, the first instinct is to shoot anyone we dislike.


    • AmeriCanadian

      Good question. Perhaps we long for the romanticized days of the Wild, Wild West. I wish I knew.

      • RJ Bone

        Extend that into almost all media, at one point or another. It’s ingrained in our culture at every level.

    • —That perhaps exaggerates it a wee bit. Since so many people potentially hate each other (Dems and Republicans, Blacks / Whites, English speakers / Latinos, Straights / Gays for example), we would all be dead by now if everyone shot everyone they disliked.
      — The issue is not the distribution of semi-automatic rifles per say. Israel Switzerland, Finland, and other nations with citizen armies have high rates of semi-automatic weapons kept at home without high murder rates, They do not allow such weapons to be sold on the open market or used by people without training, or owned by people who are not in their militias -(just as the Second Amendment says btw about the need to form a “well armed militia”). Finland btw just made their training even tougher.
      –The answer is simple. It is simply too easy for people who are insane, drug induced, psychopathic, sociopathic, or just plain evil to get weapons that can mass murder people and use them. Get these weapons out of murders hands —- stop making the industry so profitable — and you will start getting the murder rate down. Hunting rifles, handguns, and firing range pistols are one thing — it is military grade semiautomatic and automatic weapons and magazines that must be kept out of the hands of anyone but our national guard, police, and military personnel. That is what killed at least 17 kids near me in Florida yesterday.

    • The_Wretched

      And you’re a troll, why?

      • I don’t think it is a troll question. Turn on the televsion outside of the USA and this is how they make Americans appear.

        • The_Wretched

          From the history, this one isn’t on the up and up even if they question is otherwise ok. And it just hid the history.

          • Ah, OK. But I lived outside the USA for 15 years. We are portrayed as stupid monsters to many in the rest of the world – especially after incidents like Parkland (I was near the shooting yesterday btw in West Boca Raton).

      • Why are you a conformist?

        • The_Wretched

          Irrelevant ‘rebuttals’ (aka poopyposts) and ad hom.

          -Book of Indications, Chapter 2, Indicia of troll.

    • Nic Peterson

      And again, it’s too soon to talk about gun control.

      • Silver Badger

        Much too soon. The bodies have hardly cooled. Besides, we wouldn’t want to distract from the funerals. Have a heart Nic.

  • RJ Bone

    Okay. I’m not religious. Not anymore. I’ve read their book and I know way too many humans.

    These people like Rubio, Toomey, virtually anyone who can just take money from an organization that lobbies for their own millions without ANY care for these school shootings…?

    THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN ANY GOD. They’re christian and really good at it, but they’re only living for now and what they can get now. If they really do believe in the “good” parts of what that religion claims, they believe they have no part in it.


    So stop appealing to conscience. There is none .

    Stop appealing to religious beliefs. They have none.

    They are not redeemable and will not change. All we can do is get them out of office and out of influence. Let them rot in obscurity.

    But FFS stop thinking we can influence their conscience or appeal to any “religious” belief.

  • Joe in PA

    “customizable”? Just say it: bump stocks.

    • Friday’s_cat

      Making the action fully automatic.

      • Joe in PA

        It still baffles me that the “semi” automatic was not enough for these ammosexuals. AR-15 manufacturers deliberately design the fucking killing machine so that it could be adaptable to “customization”. Nice.

    • TexasBoy

      Huge magazines.

    • The_Wretched

      It comes with hello kitty decals?

  • alc2018
    • Friday’s_cat

      If you have a twitter account retweet.

  • RJ Bone

    And the Great Orange Asshole goes with “blame everyone for not reporting the deeply disturbed young man”.

  • hdtex
  • Friday’s_cat

    What you can do just as community cation by sane Americans crippled Fox News revenue stream you can make a difference by denying these car rental agencies your custom.

  • #DJTK5F

    New Film: “We Have to Talk About Marco”

    A vote for a Republican is a vote for a mass shooting. Fight back.

  • BeaverTales

    In Switzerland, according to a Swiss family I am acquainted with, every adult has to serve in the military for one year, and every home has a gun. Every (wo?)man is a part of the Swiss militia, but gun rampages are relatively rare. Switzerland is also one of the happiest and wealthiest nations on earth. I think the founding fathers intended the 2nd Amendment to work like Switzerland’s Armed Forces, but US gun culture has forced us into the situation we’re in now.

    I don’t know if the Swiss model is viable in the US because our military isn’t a defensive force any longer….it’s designed to enforce American foreign policy as a superower through military bases around the world, and costs us billions. We need to reimagine American diplomatic priorities in order to change military priorities which , I believe, influences our gun culture. Australia had a successful gun buyback., so over decades, it became a far less violent culture than ours. Canada limits handgun ownership and registers all firearms and manages to have fewer gun incidents per person than we do, despite having a relatively open border with the US..

    I don’t know the answers but we need to try something different than what we’re doing now. A lot of changes need to be made in the USA before the situation comes under any semblance of control.

    • Finland is just like Switzerland. Every able bodied man knows how to fire weapons, cross country ski and serves in reserves. And unlike Switzerland a foreign nation invaded it (Russia) in living memory (the 1940’s) and came out quite badly in the process. Automatic rifles are kept at home. Israel is also that way as is Serbia.

      • Jerry Kott

        However, our Nation is populated/polluted by Genetic males who too often use firearms to trump their warped sense of masculinity. Guns have replaced chest pounding

    • Buford

      You can look this up on Wiki or Google. The Swiss own lots of guns, but they have to obtain government permits to buy both guns and ammo.

      It’s common sense. Responsible people can own guns, but they need to get permits and register them… and a history of irresponsible behavior would preclude owning a gun or buying ammo. THIS could be done in the US tomorrow.

    • BobSF_94117

      People talk about America’s “gun culture” but America had a gun culture that was perfectly fine with gun control and reasonable behavior on the part of gun owners. What changed is the NRA. They’re not an organization of gun owners. They’re a tool of the gun industry. They have shaped the gun culture, transforming it from people who hunt and believe in personal protection in the form of a rifle to a bunch of rabid, paranoid men who feel the need to arm themselves to the teeth.

  • TexasBoy
  • I have to pick up Mom and take her to a doctor in West Boca Raton which is the next town to Parkland. I do not feel like going — not because it is dangerous but because it is too depressing here. You do not want to be around a mass murder area when children are killed, and 13 more are in hospitals. It is a very very sad time. Parkland is a wealthy area btw — this shooing definitely was not in a poor area by any means.

  • TexasBoy

    I wonder if Floridians will notice this time, since it wasn’t a nightclub full of those people?

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Same thought crossed my mind.

    • Scott Carpenter

      I’ve got to say that’s not really fair. I remember I could hold it together reading about the Pulse massacre, until one news story showing lines of Floridians literally wrapping around the block of blood donation centers. That’s when I fell apart.
      I’ll still make sarcastic comments about Florida, but that one time they did all right.

    • I expect the people of Florida will notice just about as fast as the people of New York
      North Carolina

      all these states have had school shootings so far this year

  • TrollopeReader
    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      He really doesn’t care, none of them do.

  • John Calendo

    But of course…

  • Buford

    Even more egregious is this story about a vlogger who turned the shooter in to the FBI after the shooter described himself as ‘a professional school shooter’.


  • Mike C

    Of course he did. It’s Florida. The Pulse shooter got his legally. They’ve learned NOTHING.

  • Nychta

    I was wondering where he got the money to buy the gun and ammo. I did a quick look at AR-15 prices, and what I saw in the small sample was $400 at the low end. So, did someone give him the money? Did the people he was living with pay all his expenses so he could save up for the gun by flipping burgers part time?

  • bzrd

    automatic or semi-automatic weapons should be for the military
    people who think the public should own these are
    our nation is very sick and congress is even sicker because they have the power to stop this madness but continually make it worse

  • TrollopeReader

    The superintendent is tell the press conf (with the governor there) : NOW is the time for a national conversation …that is what the students are saying right now.

  • andrew

    There is no reason that the purchase of assault weapons like the AR-15 should be legal in the USA. Hunters don’t need them and people don’t need them to protect their families, homes and property. There purpose is mass murder.

  • #DJTK5F

    Can you hear us now, Ted?

    “I tried talking about it, I got the big run-around.” #fightthepowersthatbe #timeistrulywasting


  • Ninja0980

    Are there bad guys/gals who will be able to get guns no matter what?
    Yes but there is NO reason this should be available to the general public, NONE.

    • -M-

      Yeah, I’ve seen ‘Why should criminals be allowed to have assault rifles and not me?’. As if that’s the proposal. And you know it isn’t just the bots and paid trolls.

      ‘Criminals won’t obey the law. Dur dur.’ No shit, that’s why we have armed professionals to shoot them for us if necessary to stop/discourage crimes like possessing illegal weapons. If it’s not illegal for person X to own weapon Y, then law enforcement can’t disarm them.

  • JWC

    My interest today is “Who is Nikolas Cruz” ?What is his story? Not going all Trump here and saying there was good on both side but in so many ways Mr Cruz is also a victim

    • shivadog

      He’s a Nazi mass murderer. How is he a victim?

      • JWC

        That is only suggested not proven and is the type of hysterical rhetoric that will drive this . A victim does not have to be a causality

        • shivadog

          Drive what? And a victim is usually on the other end of the gun. You are really not making any sense here.

  • Steve Smith
  • wmforr

    I hope the media starts “erroneously” printing his name as Ted Cruz. They are brothers in crime.