Gun shop owner says Orlando attacker legally bought guns at his store

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (WSVN) — The owner of a Port St. Lucie gun shop confirmed, Monday, that his store sold the guns used by an armed killer in the Orlando mass shooting on Sunday.

The owner of the gun shop, Ed Henson, said he’s devastated by the attack at an LGBT club Orlando, early Sunday morning, that left 50 dead, including the gunman, who died in a shootout with police. “Believe me, it’s upsetting for everybody in this country.”

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Mateen purchased two guns, an assault rifle and a semi-automatic pistol. The ATF determined the guns were purchased legally. Mateen had no previous criminal history. Despite being on the FBI’s watch list, he was legally allowed to purchase firearms.

At a press conference at 4 p.m., Monday, Henson, a former New York Police officer, confirmed that Mateen bought the guns from his store.

“I would like to avoid any political issues and stick to the facts regarding this case. An evil person came in here and legally purchased two firearms from us, and if he hadn’t purchased them from us, I’m sure he would’ve gotten them from a another local gun store in the area,” said Henson. “This man held multiple security licenses. He had an arm and unarm license. He passed a background check that every single person who purchases a firearm in the state of Florida undergoes.

Henson denounced Mateen and added that he did not have a clue how the subject got the clearances that he had. “I have no information regarding where this evil person took his security classes, so I can’t really discuss that right now.”

He also said Mateen was not a complete stranger to him and addressed reports that the gunman tried to buy body armor. “He’s familiar to me vaguely,” he said. “I don’t know him personally. He’s been here. Obviously, he purchased two guns legally. I have no recollection of anyone asking for body armor. We’ve never sold body armor, and we don’t currently sell any body armor.”

CNN reported the shooter attempted to buy body armor weeks ago but was denied.

Henson’s gun shop had closed its doors earlier Monday, with a sign that read, “Closed till this afternoon. Sorry for the inconvenience.” Henson said the store had closed in order to allow the ATF to perform an annual compliance check.

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