BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Accused Jacksonville shooter David Katz legally bought the two handguns used in the mass shooting at a Florida video game competition in the Baltimore area—despite a documented history of mental health-related hospitalizations.
Police say Katz purchased the weapons from a licensed dealer in Maryland.
Court records show Katz had a long history of mental health issues as a minor, including being prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications.
Sources explained it would still have been possible for him to buy the weapons without issue.
The Maryland State Police Licensing Division conducts extensive background checks, but those sources say there are potential loopholes.
In 2007—in response to the Virginia Tech massacre—Maryland required gun purchasers to sign a waiver that allowed access to their mental health records through the state’s Department of Health.
Hospitalizations in state-run facilities would be a red flag.
However, if someone had been hospitalized in a private facility—as records show Katz was—or out of state, Maryland officials would not necessarily be alerted.
A concerned citizen can also personally inform state police about treatment, but authorities must verify the hospitalization with a doctor before someone is prohibited from owning a gun.
A person cannot purchase a weapon in Maryland if they’ve been voluntarily committed for more than 30 consecutive days or involuntarily committed for any length of time.
Maryland State Police would get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer from the health department as to whether the person had a disqualifying mental health issue without detailed access to the records.
Information on mental health hospitalizations from other states is limited to what those states have entered into the National Instant Check System.
It is unclear whether Katz had received mental health treatment once he became an adult.
Maryland State Police do receive records from the Department of Juvenile Services as part of the background check process.