Richmond, Va. (WWBT) – The owner of Dan’s Sporting Goods in Colonial Heights confirmed Wednesday that the suspect in the UVA shooting in 2021 bought two guns from his store earlier this year after earlier failed attempts.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. shot and killed three UVA football players and wounded two others on a bus Sunday evening.
Store owner Marlon Dance said in a statement that Jones bought two guns from his story in 2022, including a 9mm pistol in July and a rifle in February.
No evidence has yet been received from law enforcement to confirm that these were the weapons used in Sunday’s shooting.
Dance said nothing remarkable about these purchases, but Jones had previously failed to purchase weapons from the store.
Once on Dec. 31, 2018, because Jones was under 21, and then in July 2021, because of a failed background check.
Dance said these failed attempts were referred to the Virginia State Police for investigation.
VSP said the failed background check was due to a felony charge Jones was facing, but that was later reduced to a misdemeanor in October 2021.
Court documents reveal Jones was out of Petersburg and was at the scene of an accident on August 9, 2020, stemming from a hit-and-run crash.
“If you have a felony conviction or if you have a felony conviction, under Virginia and federal law, you are prohibited from possessing a firearm,” NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin said. “But if a pending charge is reduced to a misdemeanor, that prohibition no longer exists.”
Benjamin said the weapons purchased earlier this year appear to have been purchased legally.
Unfortunately, even though it led to a tragedy, Benjamin said no other party, including the store that sold the weapons, was held liable.
“Now, if the person is clearly ineligible because of a background check or answers to a questionnaire to buy a gun, there is definitely a criminal liability,” Benjamin said. “But a store is never responsible for the consequences of legally selling a person a gun.”
Virginia State Police say the only ban on buying firearms in Virginia is buying more than one handgun in a 30-day period.
Individuals can attempt to purchase a handgun as many times as they wish, but as long as they have a felony or felony conviction, a background check will deny the individual a permit to purchase a firearm.
State law does not prohibit a person from purchasing a firearm if they have a pending felony or misdemeanor conviction.
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