PENSACOLA, Fla. — The handgun used by a Saudi aviation trainee to kill three people and wound eight others at Naval Air Station Pensacola was purchased lawfully in Florida, according to the FBI. 

At a Sunday news conference, Rachel Rojas, special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Field Office, identified the weapon 

used in the attack as a 9mm Glock 45 pistol and said the shooter “did purchase it legally and lawfully” through a process that was open to “not just him, but any foreign national.”

Also, Rojas confirmed the gunman purchased the firearm in Florida, but declined to give specific details about when and where. She referred the public to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ website for additional information on the regulations that permit foreign nationals to buy guns on U.S soil. 

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“That’s a federal loophole that he took advantage of,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “I’m a big supporter of the Second Amendment, but the Second Amendment applies so that we, the American people, can keep and bear arms. It does not apply to Saudi Arabians.”

The governor said he would be encouraging President Donald Trump and other federal decision makers to change policies that would allow foreign nationals to arm themselves.

Under U.S.code, foreign nationals who have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. can purchase and possess a gun under a few specific conditions:

  • If they were admitted to the U.S. for lawful hunting or sporting purposes, or if they are in possession of a U.S.-issued hunting license or permit
  • If they are an official representative of a foreign government who is accredited with the U.S. government;  if they are accredited with a government-partnered international organization headquartered in the  U.S.; or if they are in transit to or from a country where they are accredited
  • If they are an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor as designated by the U.S. Department of State 
  • If they are a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the U.S. on official law enforcement business 

There is also a process where a foreign national can petition the U.S attorney general directly for a waiver that allows them to possess a gun.

It is unclear exactly what criteria allowed the Pensacola gunman to purchase a firearm, but he was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force who was credentialed with the U.S. through an aviation training program.

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The Glock 45 he used comes standard with a 17-round magazine capacity, according to Glock’s website.

Local, state and national officials have credited the quick actions of local law enforcement officers, Navy security forces and shooting victims and survivors with saving many lives.

USA Today