Jerad Miller, one of the killers responsible for gunning down two police officers and a pedestrian in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, tried to purchase weapons on Facebook one month before the deadly rampage. In a post dated May 8, Miller asks, “Need rifle. Can anyone help?” before clarifying that he’s looking for “anything that can reach out and touch evil tyrant bastards.”
CREDIT: Facebook Screenshot
Jerad Miller, who had a criminal record dating back to 2000, was a convicted felon and prohibited from purchasing firearms from a licensed dealer. It was a restriction he railed against online.
“They have tried to tell my fiance, who has no criminal record, that she may not own a firearm if I live in the house. Now, i face a dire problem,” he wrote in a post for InfoWars. “Yet there is no victim in the crime i committed, so how can that be a felony charge? A charge that takes my 1st, 2nd, and 4th right away? How can this be? Do I really live in a free country?”
Federal law prohibits felons, domestic abusers, the mentally ill, and other broad categories of individuals from purchasing weapons from licensed gun dealers, though many states ban additional categories of people — those who commit misdemeanors or have a demonstrated history of alcohol- or substance-abuse problems — from carrying guns. Last year, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) vetoed legislation that would have required background checks on customers in all gun sales, arguing that the measure would “do little to prevent criminals from unlawfully obtaining firearms.” A federal bill expanding background checks to most gun purchases was also defeated in the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, online websites like Amazon, Craigslist, and Google have moved to restrict unregulated purchases. Facebook announced in March that it will actively block buyers and sellers who do not intend to conduct background checks, prohibit users under age 18 from viewing gun sellers’ posts, and delete reported posts of potential sales across state lines.
But some gun safety groups argue that the social network could do more. “Facebook continues to make it too easy for dangerous people to find guns and should prohibit gun sales outright,” the Brady Campaign said in a statement. “Gun sales have no place on a social network which makes it simple to evade background checks.” Following the shooting, police recovered a shotgun and two handguns, 200 rounds of ammunition, and two more guns taken from the police officers they killed.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns estimates that 25,000 guns are illegally sold on the Internet to buyers with criminal records each year.
The Las Vegan Sun has confirmed the authenticity of Jerad Miller’s Facebook page.