From reporter Nate Carlisle’s story:
The sale of a gun used by a felon to kill a 13-year-old Utah girl and wound two sheriff’s deputies in Washington state earlier this year highlights the ambiguities associated with private firearms transactions.
Anthony A. Martinez already had at least three felony convictions when he purchased the .40-caliber Glock from a former Utah police cadet, according to Utah court records and documents released by prosecutors in Kitsap, Wash.
The felonies prevented Martinez from buying a gun from a licensed dealer. But the law gets trickier when there’s a transaction between two individuals.
Private parties selling guns are not required to conduct a background check on the buyer. But if the seller knows the buyer is prohibited from possessing a firearm, or reasonably should know, then the seller just committed a felony under federal law.
There is no evidence the sale to Martinez was illegal, nor was there evidence anyone was investigating.
Carlisle also attempted to contact the man who bought the gun originally and the man who sold it to Martinez. But neither attempt was successful.