KILLEEN, Texas (KXAN) – The gun store where authorities say Ivan Lopez bought the .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun used in Wednesday’s deadly attack at Fort Hood has ties to two other incidents involving the post.
Federal authorities tell NBC News that Lopez stopped at the store called Guns Galore four weeks before the incident.
In November 2009, it was a similar story. The day after Nidal Hasan went on his own deadly shooting rampage at the post, a KXAN camera spotted a Texas Ranger and unidentified men visiting the store. They stayed an hour that day interviewing the owner.
It was soon learned that Hasan bought at that shop the guns he used in the deadly rampage that killed 13 people and hurt more than 30 others.
And two years later, Naser Jason Abdo bought items there that he was planning to use in an off-post attack on Fort Hood soldiers.
It was a busy time for owner Greg Ebert when KXAN stopped by back then — as he fielded questions about such an apparent coincidence.
“He [Abdo] comes in and says, ‘Can I get one of these?’ That’s all he bought was an empty magazine, which goes into the pistol,” Ebert told KXAN at the time.
In that instance, Ebert also told KXAN Abdo ended up buying boxes of shotgun shells and smokeless powder — often used in pipe bombs.
Ebert ended up calling police, who found out about Abdo’s plan to attack Fort Hood soldiers.
He told KXAN off-camera on Thursday that he runs soldier and civilian customers alike through the same federal firearms background check. And that policy dictates soldiers must register guns brought on post. They cannot conceal-carry on post.
Conceal carry and our service members
As for hiding a gun lawfully, it is simpler for our active military or veterans to secure a Texas conceal carry license than for the general population.
For our military:
- The classroom course itself is free (Civilians pay 140 dollars)
- Hours of range instruction can be waived
- Everyone must through federal background checks
- All applicants must disclose whether they’ve had psychological treatment including for drug or alcohol abuse in the previous five years.
- TX Government Code, Title IV
But as Ebert told KXAN in 2011, it can be difficult to judge someone’s mental stability.
”If we had the capacity to look at a human being and do an analysis and say dangerous or not dangerous, we surely would not sell anything,” he said.
Authorities said Ivan Lopez was being treated and on medication for depression, anxiety and sleeping problems. He was also being diagnosed for PTSD but no determination had been made. He saw no combat during his four months serving in Iraq in 2011, authorities said.