Today, South Carolina’s confederate flags were lowered for the last time, thus ending the long and drawn out battle over what the flag means, what it doesn’t mean, and whether or not it should be flown above the state’s capitol building.

After Dylann Roof allegedly killed 9 people at a church in Charleston last month, many activists came out of the woodwork to blame not Roof’s mental state, or his admitted racism, for the massacre, but the pernicious influence of the Civil War, the race wars, and the continued unfurling of the Confederate Flag.

It was a field day for social justice warriors. Even President Barack Obama was quick to blame the country as a whole for the murder of innocents; but as it turns out, he needn’t look further than the front door of FBI Headquarters if he’s still in search of a more controversial scapegoat.

As it turns out, as per the federal government’s own procedures, Roof shouldn’t have been able to buy a gun at all.

The New York Times explains:

Mr. Roof first tried to buy the gun on April 11, from a dealer in South Carolina. The F.B.I., which conducts background checks for gun sales, did not give the dealer approval to proceed with the purchase because the bureau needed to do more investigating about Mr. Roof’s s criminal history.

Under federal law, the F.B.I. has three days to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to deny the purchase. If the bureau cannot come up with an answer, the purchaser can return to the dealer and buy the gun.

In the case of Mr. Roof, the F.B.I. failed to gain access to a police report in which he admitted to having been in possession of a controlled substance, which would have disqualified him from purchasing the weapon. The F.B.I. said that confusion about where the arrest had occurred had prevented it from acquiring the arrest record in a timely fashion.

Mr. Roof’s application was not resolved within the three-day limit because the F.B.I. was still trying to get the arrest record, and he returned to store and was sold the gun.

Many major national gun dealers, like Walmart, will not sell the weapon to the buyer if they do not have an answer from F.B.I., but many smaller stores will.

I’d hate to be an FBI employee today.

FBI Director James B. Comey said today the only thing he could: This case rips all of our hearts out. But the thought that an error on our part is connected to this guy’s purchase of a gun that he used to slaughter these good people is very painful to us.

So there it is. As of right now, barring further revelations, we should be blaming the federal government (at least in part) for what happened in Charleston.

Hindsight is 20/20—especially when you’re dealing with loopholes that end up getting people killed; but that doesn’t change the fact that the federal government’s saving grace wasn’t enough to stand in between a shooter and his victims.

But we knew that already.

And the spin cycle spins on.


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