FBI Considered Alerts on Buyers of Multiple Guns, but Was Scrapped Over Legal Concerns

FOX NEWS — The Federal Bureau of Investigation considered creating an alert system seven years ago to tip off agents to multiple gun purchases like those made by the Orlando, Fla., nightclub gunman, but abandoned the idea over legal concerns, according to multiple officials.

Law enforcement officials who study mass shooters say that multiple firearm purchases can be a key indicator that a troubled individual is taking concrete steps toward violence, much like Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, who bought a handgun and a rifle in the days before he killed 49 people.

The Orlando attack has prompted calls for changes in surveillance and gun control laws, but it isn’t clear any of them would have flagged the gunman.

Separately, FBI and Justice Department officials are evaluating if it would be legal or practical to create an alert system to warn investigators when gun purchases are made by people who, like Mateen, were once investigated for terrorism, according to officials familiar with the discussions.

An internal FBI document and interviews with current and former law enforcement officials show that authorities debated the prospect of flagging buyers of multiple guns as far back as 2009 and 2010, when a series of high-profile mass shootings raised questions about better ways to track potential attackers.

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