previously possessed

The man accused of killing nine people in a historically black church in South Carolina last month should not have been able to buy the gun he used in the attack, the F.B.I. said Friday, in what was the latest acknowledgment of flaws in the national background check system.

A loophole in the system and an error by the F.B.I. allowed the man, Dylann Roof, to buy the .45-caliber handgun despite having previously admitted to drug possession, officials said.

Mr. Roof first tried to buy the gun on April 11, from a dealer in South Carolina. The F.B.I., which conducts background checks for gun sales, did not give the dealer approval to proceed with the purchase because the bureau needed to do more investigating about Mr. Roof’s s criminal history.

Under federal law, the F.B.I. has three days to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to deny the purchase. If the bureau cannot come up with an answer, the purchaser can return to the dealer and buy the gun.

In the case of Mr. Roof, the F.B.I. failed to gain access to a police report in which he admitted to having been in possession of a controlled substance, which would have disqualified him from purchasing the weapon. The F.B.I. said that confusion about where the arrest had occurred had prevented it from acquiring the arrest record in a timely fashion.

Mr. Roof’s application was not resolved within the three-day limit because the F.B.I. was still trying to get the arrest record, and he returned to store and was sold the gun.

Many major national gun dealers, like Walmart, will not sell the weapon to the buyer if they do not have an answer from F.B.I., but many smaller stores will.

“We are all sick this happened,” said the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey. “We wish we could turn back time.”

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The New York Times“Background Check Flaw Let Dylann Roof Buy Gun, FBI Says.”

God damn it all.