Duh, "I just sold him the gun"

Andrew Buncombe in Roanoke and Jerome Taylor, from the Independent:

If Cho Seung-Hui wanted to start a war, he could not have gone to a better place than Roanoke Firearms.

Five weeks ago, the 23-year-old foreign student entered the shop and paid $570 with a credit card for a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a box of 50 cartridges. He provided three different forms of identification and passed an additional security check carried out by the state police. The checks threw up no red flags. The entire transaction took no more than 20 minutes.

"I don't know anything about him. I just sold him the gun," the store's owner, John Markell, told The Independent, standing behind one of the store's glass display cases packed full of matt-black weapons. "He had a Virginia driving licence, a cheque book and a green card. Everything was legit - he checked out completely."

Yesterday, as this part of southern Virginia and the rest of the US was struggling to come to terms with the bloody carnage that took place on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, 40 miles away, on the outskirts of Roanoke, the shop that sold Cho one of the two semi-automatic weapons he used with such devastating effect was open and doing swift business.

Mr Markell, 58, said that officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) visited the store on the afternoon of the shooting - the receipt for the handgun had later been found on Cho - but they had not troubled him further. There had been no suggestion the shop should be closed or that business should be suspended.

Mr Markell said that because Cho was a foreign national, he was required to have three forms of identification with him rather than the normal two. "We also rang up the state police. They ran it through the FBI computer," Mr Markell added. "He was here on a student visa."

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