The Maine mass-shooter obtained several weapons legally, including some in the days immediately before the attack, according to the New York Times, citing local officials.
Robert Card, who shot and killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, during a rampage on Wednesday, bought guns in July, just before being hospitalized and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, according to CNN.
New York State Police told the broadcaster that police were called to Camp Smith in July, where Card was serving in the National Guard, because he was acting “belligerent” and was potentially “intoxicated.” An unnamed federal law enforcement source told CNN that Card informed Army personnel he was “hearing voices” and having thoughts about “hurting other soldiers.”
Just ten days earlier, Card had purchased a high-powered Ruger SFAR rifle. Maine, where Card purchased the gun, does not require background checks on all gun sales. Twenty states currently enforce universal background checks on firearms purchases.
Studies suggest that, by themselves, universal background checks may have some effect on reducing gun violence and homicide; many academics believe that they can be very effective when combined with other gun control measures, including gun licensing laws. Maine also does not have permit laws for carrying guns, except in certain places like state and national parks.
In the wake of the shooting, Maine senators Angus King (I) and Susan Collins (R) have been resistant to changes in gun laws. However, both have expressed interest in passing legislation against high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, which allow guns to fire more bullets rapidly with less reloading. On Thursday, Maine Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat who last year voted against a federal assault weapons ban, apologized for his previous opposition and pledged to reverse course.
On Saturday morning, police told media that they had found Card’s body on Friday night, deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, following a two-day manhunt.