John Patrick Bedell, the troubled former Irvine resident (and Weekly reader?) who was shot to death on his way to shooting up the Pentagon, carried two 9 mm handguns with him that fateful March 4 day.
One was a Ruger Bedell purchased at a Las Vegas gun show on Jan. 29. That was 19 days after California authorities sent Bedell a letter informing him he was prohibited from buying a gun because of his mental history.
He was able to make the buy because sales at shows do not require the kind of background check that would have stopped the purchase in a gun shop. Buying from a gun show is considered the same as buying a firearm from your next door neighbor.
God bless America!
But the Ruger already had a storied past, having been confiscated by police in Memphis, Tenn., from a convicted felon during a 2005 traffic stop. Memphis police traded the handgun to a local dealer in 2008 for a different weapon better suited for police work. It was then swapped among dealers in Georgia and Pennsylvania before making its way to Sin City . . . and into Bedell's hands.
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The Associated Press tracked the gun's cross-country adventures, and included in the report was this tidbit:
On the day of the Pentagon shooting, Tennessee's governor signed legislation revising state law on confiscated guns.
Before the law was enacted, Tennessee law enforcement agencies had the option of destroying a gun. Now, these agencies can only destroy a gun if it's inoperable or unsafe.
John Patrick Bedells of the world, rejoice!