News & Politics

Source: Dallas Shooter Bought Weapons Legally

A law enforcement official tells The Wall Street Journal that the Dallas shooter purchased his weapons legally, either online or at a gun show.

The official said Micah Xavier Johnson used an Izhmash-Saiga 5.45 mm high-powered rifle, a variation of an AK-style military weapon, in the attack.

Johnson also had with him a Glock 9mm semiautomatic pistol and a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol, which were recovered at the crime scene, though it was unclear whether he fired them during the attack, the official said.

Investigators found two more rifles at the suburban Dallas home Johnson shared with his mother. They also found approximately 1 pound of Tannerite, a powder marketed to make exploding targets for gun practice, and a can of acetone, which can be used with other chemicals to make explosive material.

The WSJ also reports that it was unclear when the gun purchases were made because no prohibitions were placed on Johnson that would have prevented him from buying guns legally.

No prohibitions.

Let’s examine that.

Investigators were digging into Johnson’s military history and are seeking to corroborate reports that he was sent home from Afghanistan after a woman lodged a complaint of sexual harassment against him in 2014, another federal law enforcement official said.

Bradford Glendening, the lawyer who represented Johnson, told the Associated Press that the military recommended an “other than honorable discharge,” adding, “In his case, it was apparently so egregious, it was not just the act itself.… I’m sure that this guy was the black sheep of his unit.”

According to a court filing Glendening read to the AP, the victim said she wanted Johnson to “receive mental help” and sought a protective order to keep him away from her and her family. Johnson was ordered to avoid all contact with her, Glendening said.

ABC News reports:

The lawyer added that Johnson’s chain of command recommended he be removed from the Army with an “other than honorable” discharge, the most severe administrative discharge. But, ultimately, Johnson was not discharged in this way, Glendening said.

According to the Associated Press, Johnson instead received an honorable discharge in April 2015, for reasons Glendening doesn’t understand.

The Army said it was not authorized to comment about actions taken against Johnson.

A dishonorable discharge and a protective order would have made it problematic for Johnson to purchase his guns legally. This wouldn’t necessarily have stopped him from obtaining firearms; it’s clear Johnson had no respect for the law as he slaughtered five police officers. But it is curious why Johnson wasn’t dishonorably discharged from the Army, especially because even his own lawyer was confused by the decision to discharge him honorably. As the investigation continues, hopefully we will get answers to these questions.