Dealer who sold Orlando Massacre Guns: 'I Don't Make the Laws'
By NBC News
The Florida gun dealer who sold a handgun and a rifle to the Orlando massacre suspect said Monday that his conscience is clear.
"It's horrible but I don't make the laws. I abide by them," Ed Henson of the St. Lucie Shooting Center, a range and gun shop in Port Saint Lucie, not far from where nightclub shooter Omar Mateen lived.
"My heartfelt condolences for the family and victims and I can't imagine the horror they face," Henson, a retired NYPD police officer, added. "I did everything by the book. I'm not going to be made into a villain."
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms confirmed on Sunday evening that Mateen was carrying a .223 caliber AR-type rifle and a 9mm semiautomatic pistol when he opened fire at the Pulse club, killing 49 and injuring more than 50.
Authorities said both were bought legally, even though the FBI investigated Mateen for 10 months in 2013 and 2014 over allegations he had terrorist ties. He was placed on a watch list but then removed after the FBI determined there was nothing to the claims.
Henson said Mateen bought the two weapons within the last two weeks — days apart — and passed mandated background checks before he picked them up.
"He's evil. We happen to be the gun shop he picked," said Henson, adding that if he had not sold the guns to Mateen, the suspect would have found another seller.
ATF agents showed up at the St. Lucie Shooting Center after the tragedy and were still there Monday afternoon.
"We've been cooperating with them and other law enforcement agencies," Henson said. "We did nothing wrong."