Multiple reports are indicating that the Saudi student who shot up the Naval Air Station in Pensacola Friday morning, killing three and wounding more acquired the weapon he used legally from a local dealer.
Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force who was in the US as an aviation student, was able to buy a gun despite the fact that “nonimmigrant aliens” are not permitted to do so, according to NBC News.
The BATF notes that anyone admitted to the US under a nonimmigrant visa is typically “prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition,” however, those with a valid hunting license or permit, and those who were admitted for “lawful hunting or sporting purposes” are able to purchase firearms.
Alshamrani was able to get such a license, according to sources cited by NBC, allowing him to undergo a background check, which in Florida involves a three-day waiting period, per state law.
The Washington Post further notes that another ATF regulation allows non-citizens to possess firearms if they’re from “a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.”
The development is even more remarkable given that the shooter had a twitter page that reportedly featured anti-American posts and glorified quotes from Osama Bin Laden, according to The SITE Intel Group.
While investigations are still ongoing into whether the attack was “terrorism”, it has been reported that the gunman hosted a “dinner party” prior to the attack, where guests watched mass shooting videos.
“The Saudi student who fatally shot three people at a U.S. naval base in Florida hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings.”
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) December 7, 2019
Further details that emerged over the weekend suggest that one of the victims, Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, acted heroically by making it outside the air station and informing the first response team where the shooter was, despite being gravely injured by at least five gunshots.
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) December 7, 2019
Ensign Watson, who would have gone on to be a military jet pilot, later died from the injuries, yet has been credited with saving countless lives with his actions.
Watson and two other sailors, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters are said to have run toward the danger in an effort to save colleagues and friends.
The shooting, along with a prior incident at Pearl Harbor Naval shipyard on Wednesday in which two were killed, has again raised questions concerning military installations generally forbidding anyone from carrying a firearm, even if it is government-issued.