Gun Shop Owner Says Shooter Disclosed Mental Health Issues

Army reserve Robert R. Card II, who killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, tried to buy a suppressor in August but was turned down because of his history of mental illness, as indicated on a federal form.

Rick LaChapelle, owner of Coastal Defense Firearms, alleged that Card had dispatched someone else to pick up a device that muffles gunfire and is commonly known as a silencer. Card’s admission of mental health problems is hinted at for the first time in this attempted transaction.

The inquiry into the deadly shooting has been complicated by questions about Card’s mental state and his access to weaponry. Card had an encounter with authorities during a recent trip to a National Guard training base in Peekskill, N.Y., and was subsequently evaluated at a mental health facility. Michael J. Sauschuck, Maine’s commissioner of public safety, stated on Saturday that he had no evidence that Card had ever been institutionalized for mental health reasons.

Card admitted on Form 4473 that he had mental health problems when he tried to pick up the suppressor. The federal government requires people to fill out and sign Form 4473 before they may legally purchase firearms or firearm accessories like suppressors. Card may or may not have disclosed a history of mental illness on previous paperwork he filled out to obtain firearms.
According to the authorities, Mr. Card legitimately obtained his firearms; if he had bought them from a licensed dealer, he would have been required to pass a background check, which would have included a determination of his mental fitness to own a handgun.

If a federal court or other lawful authority has found an individual to be “mentally defective,” or if that individual has been “committed to a mental institution,” then that individual is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms or firearm equipment, including a suppressor.