Postal shooter got gun legally |

Postal shooter got gun legally

LOS ANGELES – The postal worker who went on a deadly shooting rampage last week at a mail-sorting center legally bought the weapon in New Mexico even though she had a history of psychiatric problems that would have barred her from purchasing the gun in California, officials said.Jennifer San Marco, who shot six postal employees to death before killing herself Jan. 30 in the Southern California community of Goleta, was committed briefly for psychiatric reasons in 2001. Because of that, under California law, she was automatically barred for five years from buying a gun, officials said.But New Mexico, where she moved in late 2003 or early 2004, relies on federal gun law and the federal instant background check for would-be buyers. And San Marco cleared the background check there.”She bought the gun legally in New Mexico,” said Sgt. Erik Raney of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.The federal government, like California, prohibits the mentally ill from buying guns. But the federal government sets a much higher threshold than California in deciding whether someone’s mental illness is a disqualifying factor.The case shows the need for “more rigorous national standards to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill,” California Attorney General Gen. Bill Lockyer said Tuesday. “It demonstrates the limits on a state’s ability to effectively enforce firearms laws, because they are avoidable by purchasing a gun in a less-regulated state.”

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