This past Monday, 25-year-old James Howard withdrew from classes at Ohio University, assaulted a hockey coach and then proceeded to head to Down’s Bait & Guns store to purchase a gun.
Although he did pass a background check, the store owner, John Downs, had a bad feeling about it and refused to sell him a gun.
“Just the look in his eye… there was something about him,” Downs said. “I don’t know. You really can’t explain it. He was going to do something. He was going to do something.”
He returned to the gun store later in the day but the owner locked the stores and called 911. Police found his car in a nearby Walmart and where they then found a gun and ammunition. Apparently he purchased the firearm by making a false statement on his background check form as he is allegedly a drug dependent or in danger of becoming drug dependent.
Howard had a history of mental illness and should have been flagged in the NICS background check system but he wasn’t. This just goes to show you how background checks don’t always work as one employee said:
“You know everybody wants more background checks. That is not what we really need to do. We need to enforce the law we already have on,” said Charlie Hopkins, Downs Bait and Gins employee.