FBI issues alert warning of legal gun loophole

Posted at 9:23 PM, Dec 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-24 11:52:08-05

There's a new FBI alert that is warning law enforcement about what the FBI is calling a legal loophole on gun purchases.

The alert is coming just after an international student who was attending ASU was recently deported after posting pictures on Facebook of his gun on campus.

Legally, people who have a visa to be in the United States can get a gun using their government issued ID and a hunting license. They would fill out the same form everyone else fills out and go through the same background check, but the FBI is worried people who might want to plot an attack in the country may take advantage of this legal way to obtain a gun.

Jesse Hanson of Shooter's World says the law the FBI is referencing is nothing new.

"They have people coming in from different countries, like Canada, they just want to purchase a firearm," Hanson said. "We aren't getting the extremists coming in purchasing a weapon at a legitimate business."

He adds, people with visas have to go through the same background check as anyone else.

"The government has more info on that person than a U.S. citizen because they have come through a legal checkpoint crossing the border," he said. 

But the alert from the FBI sites a scary example. 

A Chinese student in Tempe on a visa was told he could legally purchase a gun if he obtained a hunting license. The alert reveals that student bought two AR-15s, ammo, and body armor and stored everything in his dorm on campus. He later admitted to school officials he sold one of the weapons to another student.

"Does it concern me? Yes," Anthony Pedilla, a gun owner, said. "But is it something we can control at this level? No, because they will get it from someone else."

"People who are going to do something illegal usually don't go through legal ways to get a firearm," Hanson added.

While that particular international student did not break any gun laws, he did violate school policy by having a gun on campus. The FBI's alert says there were also questions about the student's mental health. He could potentially re-apply for another visa and if granted he would be able to come back to the U.S. and purchase a weapon.