NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut gun shop that legally sold weapons to the Newtown school shooter's mother lost its federal firearms license after the December massacre because of hundreds of violations over the past several years, according to federal authorities.
A document prepared by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives explains why Riverview Gun Sales in East Windsor lost its license. Some of the violations included letting a felon buy ammunition and selling firearms without completing background checks. The document was obtained Wednesday by WFSB-TV and the Journal News in New York.
The documents accuse Riverview of committing more than 500 violations and say the licensee received 11 instances of instruction from ATF dating back to 2004 on how to comply with federal firearms laws and regulations. It says "the large number of repeat violations demonstrates that the licensee and his employees purposely disregarded and/or were plainly indifferent to their CGA obligations," referring to the Gun Control Act.
More than 300 violations were for failing to record information completely, accurately and in a timely manner, according to the document. It also cited violations for failing to record the date the background system was contacted, the response by the system or the identification number provided by the system before a firearm transfer.
Nancy Lanza purchased a Bushmaster rifle from Riverview that was used in the shooting by her son Adam, according to a law enforcement official close to the school shooting investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is continuing. Adam Lanza killed his mother at their home and then 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Robert Altchiler, attorney for Riverview since late January, said Thursday that the ATF was discussing a temporary shutdown of the store last year. He said the revocation came about a week after the massacre.
"They went from a temporary shutdown being sufficient to a permanent license revocation and that happened within a week of Newtown," he said.
He also noted the case of a man who stole a gun from the store days before the Newtown shooting. The man was a convicted felon and the store didn't realize the firearm had been stolen until contacted by authorities, according to a federal arrest affidavit.
An ATF spokeswoman had no immediate comment.
ATF officials said federal firearms license holders receive a copy of the violations report before a revocation is initiated and are made aware of the violations again during the hearing process. They have 60 days to appeal and in this case they chose not to do so, officials said.
Altchiler said he considered the violation involving ammunition the most serious, but said that involved an employee and not the owner.
Nancy Lanza filled out forms indicating she was buying the guns for herself, the Journal News reported.