Roy Perez shot his mother, a neighbor, and a 4-year-old girl one day with a gun he never should have had—yet bought quite legally. The New York Times takes a look at another loophole in the nation's gun laws, one that fails to take guns away from people who've lost their gun rights, due to mental illness or other reasons. Perez bought the 9mm Glock 26 in 2004, before his mental illness was diagnosed.
One researcher estimates that there are 180,000 people across the United States who bought firearms legally, but have since lost that right—more than the 150,000 people who failed background checks on their firearm applications in 2009. California is the one state that has a computerized database tracking gun ownership and who has lost their gun rights, but even that has not helped much. “We just don’t have enough manpower to pursue every one of these cases,” said a Los Angeles detective. “These cases go on there quicker than we can get to them.”