(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen legally purchased the guns he had on him within the past week, even though he had been known to law enforcement for years, federal officials confirmed Sunday.
Law enforcement sources told ABC News that he had a .223 caliber AR-type rifle and a Glock handgun on him at the time of the shooting early this morning, which the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says he bought legally.
News of the legal purchases comes as officials confirmed that Mateen had been interviewed three times by the FBI in the years leading up to the shooting because his name came up in connection to two different cases. Such information would not show up in a background check because both cases were closed.
Law enforcement sources confirmed that Mateen was on the FBI’s radar but not necessarily on a watch list. But even appearing on the list wouldn’t have necessarily prevented him from obtaining weapons.
“Being on the watchlist is not in itself disqualifying, under law. The disqualifying elements of the investigation may be classified,” ABC News consultant and former acting Homeland Security undersecretary John Cohen said.
According to Florida law, there is a mandatory three-day waiting period for handgun purchases, but no permit, registration or licensing is needed to buy or own rifles, shotguns or handguns. A permit is needed, however, to carry a handgun.
As a state, Florida is said to have relatively lax gun laws.
In 2013, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun violence gave Florida an “F” when grading states’ based on their approaches to regulating guns and ammunition.
The study noted that Florida has had “historically weak gun laws.”
Shooting enthusiast magazine Guns & Ammo ranked Florida as the 12th best state for gun owners, noting how they have no restrictions on modern firearms and the increase in shooting ranges in metropolitan areas.
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