‘I’m Not Going To Be Made Into A Villain’: Man Who Sold Gun To Orlando Shooter Says He Did ‘Everything By The Book’

The man who sold Orlando Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen a.223 caliber AR-type rifle and a 9mm semiautomatic pistol says he isn’t to blame for the shooting. Ed Henson of St Lucie Shooting Center says that he should not be “made into a villain” for something he had no control over. Henson says he did “everything by the book” from a legal standpoint, and performed all necessary background checks before selling Mateen his weapons. Therefore, Henson says he cannot be held responsible for the attack as he doesn’t make the laws, he simply follows them.

NBC reports that gun dealer Ed Henson is speaking to the public after it was revealed his store, St Lucie Shooting Center, sold the two weapons used in the Orlando Pulse shooting to Omar Mateen. Henson says that “his conscience is clear” regarding the 49 deaths at the Orlando nightclub. The gun dealer says that while he is horrified by what transpired with one of the guns from his store, he says that he cannot be “made into a villain” because he is not the one who makes the laws.

Henson claims that he performed all necessary background checks on Omar Mateen before selling him the.223 caliber “AR-type” rifle. The store reportedly performed the background check on Mateen, which he passed. Therefore, Henson says that there was nothing more he could do as Mateen had the legal right to purchase the weapons.

“It’s horrible but I don’t make the laws. I abide by them. My heartfelt condolences for the family and victims and I can’t imagine the horror they face. I did everything by the book. I’m not going to be made into a villain.”

According to the Daily Mail, following the horror attack in Orlando, Henson’s store was closed to the public. A sign on the door revealed that the shooting range would open later that day and reports indicate the store was closed while the ATF investigated Mateen’s purchase. The St Lucie Shooting Center website notes that Henson is a retired NYPD officer who had 20 years of service with the department. Therefore, it is safe to say that Henson knows the laws regarding the selling of weapons to citizens.

In fact, not only did Henson perform the necessary background checks, he says that Mateen also had a current and up-to-date gun license in his possession at the time of purchase. Therefore, it seems that the sale was completely legal and that Henson likely did everything required by law regarding the sale of the weapon. With the gun allegedly purchased legally, many are questioning if stricter gun laws could have prevented this terrible tragedy. Following the Orlando massacre, many Democrats are pushing for stricter gun laws, namely the limit on the sale of “assault-style” guns.

Though Mateen was able to buy the two weapons from St Lucie Shooting Center that he used in the deadly shooting, it was noted that he was unable to purchase all of the items that he wanted. In fact, initial reports indicated that Mateen had also sought to purchase military-grade body armor, but the store declined to sell it to him. However, Henson says those allegations are false and that the store never carried military-grade body armor and therefore could not have declined to sell him an item they didn’t carry.

To further Ed Henson’s case that the sale was completely legal, it has been reported that Mateen worked for a large security company, which allowed him to have special licenses to carry weapons. Despite having been investigated by the FBI for terrorist links and questioned on three separate occasions, at no point did the FBI restrict his ability to purchase a weapon or his licensing.

What do you think of Ed Henson’s response to critics? Should more be done to limit the ability of individuals to purchase “assault-style” weapons or is the FBI to blame for not realizing Mateen was a terrorist threat despite three interviews? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Image via St Lucie Shooting Center]