The man who sold Seth Aaron Ator, the AR-15 that he used to kill seven people and wounding 25 more has pleaded guilty, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox.
Marcus Anthony Braziel, 45, of Lubbock Texas pled guilty to one count of dealing firearms without a license and to one count of subscribing to a false tax return. He faces up to 5 years in federal prison.
“If you’re a firearms dealer – whether you’re selling out of a brick-and-mortar store, in your basement, or online – you must ensure that a background check is conducted on your purchasers,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “As this case makes clear, dealing firearms without a license isn’t some obscure, technical violation. It is unlawful conduct that has real-world impact and the potential for devastating results. The Justice Department is committed to enforcing our nation’s long-held gun laws, designed to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands.”
Braziel says that he sold the rifle to Anton on October 8, 2016. According to the news release from the DOJ, Ator, who had been adjudicated “mentally defective” and was therefore legally prohibited from possessing firearms, first attempted to purchase a gun from a sporting goods store, but was rejected after the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) flagged his mental status.
Braziel also admits that he never ran background checks on the firearms that he sold. He also stated that he routinely bought firearm firing mechanisms and would mill the rest of the parts needed to make a complete full-fledged weapon. He would then list the weapon on Armslist.com and meet in the parking lot of sporting good stores or his garage for the transaction.
Also according to the DOJ news release, In a four-year time frame, Braziel inadvertently sold firearms to four prohibited persons: a convicted felon, an man under felony indictment, an immigrant in the U.S. illegally, and Mr. Ator, a man who the courts deemed unfit to possess a firearm.
Braziel also failed to report any of the profits from his gun sales to the IRS.
His sentencing has been set for January 7, 2021, at 10:00 a.m