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FBI: Flawed background check allowed Dylann Roof to purchase gun

By Amy R. Connolly
FBI: Flawed background check allowed Dylann Roof to purchase gun
Dylann Roof, the man accused in a shooting spree that left nine dead at a historic Charleston, South Carolina church appears before a judge on June 19, 2015. Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm. A bond of $1 million was set for the firearm charge. Friday, the FBI said Roof should not have been allowed to buy a gun. File/Pool/UPI

WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- The background check used to clear Dylann Roof to buy a handgun was completed incorrectly and he should not have been allowed to purchase it due to a felony drug charge, the FBI said Friday, contradicting earlier assertions the check was done properly.

FBI Director James Comey told reporters Friday a clerical error allowed Roof to purchase a .45-caliber Glock handgun despite him having previously admitted to drug possession.

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"We are all sick this happened," said FBI director, James B. Comey. "We wish we could turn back time."

Roof had been arrested in late February at a Columbia, S.C. shopping mall and charged with possession of Suboxone, a controlled substance used to treat heroin addiction. He was later indicted on a state drug charge.

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Roof purchased the gun on April 11, eight days after he turned 21, at Shooter's Choice in West Columbia, S.C., about 25 miles from his home. Federal law prohibits the sale of a gun to anyone under indictment for a felony and anyone who unlawfully uses a controlled substance.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System agent who handled the check was not able to determine in which county Roof had been arrested and whether he had been convicted of a crime. Since the background check took longer than three days, the gun shop owner was allowed to sell the gun to Roof.

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Roof is accused in the shooting death of nine black church goers at a bible study at Charleston's Emanuel AME church on June 17. Roof is facing murder charges in the shooting investigators say was racially motivated.

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Comey said agents will be meeting with the victims' families to explain what happened and to determine how the agency will proceed.

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