NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The man who sold the AR-15 used to gun down 32 people in Midland and Odessa, Texas in 2020 is headed to federal prison.
Marcus Anthony Braziel, of Lubbock, pleaded guilty in October to one count of dealing firearms without a license and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison.
“Federal firearm laws, including those that mandate background checks by licensed dealers, ensure that guns don’t fall into the hands of prohibited persons,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “By subverting those laws, Mr. Braziel enabled a deranged mass shooter.”
According to plea papers, Braziel admitted he sold Seth Aaron Ator an AR-15-style rifle nearly three years before the deadly shootings that killed seven people and wound 25 more.
Ator, who had been deemed “mentally defective” and was therefore legally prohibited from possessing firearms, first attempted to purchase a gun from a sporting goods store, but was rejected after he was flagged during a background check. He later circumvented the system to purchase a gun from Braziel, who elected not to run background checks on any of his buyers.
Ator was shot and killed by police in Odessa.
Braziel admitted he was “engaged in the business of selling firearms” and devoted his time to making money purchasing and reselling guns. Taking into account his major source of income should have been licensed and conducting background checks — though they not necessarily required for in-state, private transfers.
During a four-year span, Braziel sold firearms to four prohibited persons: a convicted felon, an man under felony indictment, an immigrant in the U.S. illegally, and Ator.
Braziel has been ordered to self-surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons by April 7, 2021.
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