The U.S. government has denied a lawsuit brought against the FBI by victims of the Charleston Church shooting, which alleges that the perpetrator, Dylann Roof, should have been denied access to a weapon.
According to ABC News, lawyers for three of the survivors and the estates of five of the nine people slain in the June 17, 2015 shooting sued the FBI for what they alleged was negligence in allowing Roof to obtain the .45-caliber handgun he used in the shooting.
The federal government, however, denied that the FBI had acted negligently.
"The shooting at the Emanuel AME Church was an atrocity of unspeakable proportions. The perpetrator's actions were despicable," attorneys for the government wrote. "But the United States is not liable in tort for the tragic death of plaintiff's decedent."
Roof had been arrested on a drug-related charge in February 2015, and the plaintiffs argue that record of this arrest should have prevented him from being given the gun license.
The federal government says that the mistake in the records occurred at the local level, and while it was noticed within days, it was not fixed in the state database. Roof’s application therefore went through.
"While the Brady Act authorizes the FBI to temporarily freeze firearms sales for three business days while it researches whether state or federal law prohibits a particular buyer from possessing a firearm, the FBI has no authority to prevent a sale if, after those three business days have elapsed, it has not yet found definitive information demonstrating that the prospective purchaser's receipt of a firearm would violate federal or state law," the government's lawyers wrote.
Publication date: October 17, 2016