Muhammad Cartoon Contest Shooter May Have Obtained Gun Through Government-Led Program

| by Nathaly Pesantez

Nadir Soofi, one of the gunmen in the Garland Prophet Muhammad Art Contest shooting in Texas in May, may have been able to obtain his weapon under Operation Fast and Furious -- a government-led plan that allowed for illegal gun sales from 2009 to 2011 in hopes of later tracking them to Mexican drug cartels.

In a report for the Los Angeles Times, Richard A. Serrano describes the operation's role in Soofi's 2010 gun purchase, linking it to the May 4, 2015, Garland attacks.

Soofi purchased a 9-millimeter pistol from Lone Wolf Trading Co. in 2010, a Phoenix gun shop known for illegally selling firearms -- a fact known not only to gun smugglers, but to the federal government as well, according to the LA Times.

At the time of Soofi's purchase, the gun shop was under Operation Fast and Furious. Given Soofi's criminal record, it was likely that the transaction would come to the attention of federal authorities; in the forms required for gun transactions, Soofi "fudged" some facts.

On the day of purchase, a seven-day hold was placed on the gun, but after 24 hours, the hold was removed for reasons not entirely known, a suspicious move that could possibly explain the government's actions (or inaction) after the May attacks, according to the article.

A letter from the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch says that an "urgent firearms disposition request" was sent to Lone Wolf Trading Co. from the Department of Justice after the attack, seeking more information on Soofi and his pistol.

But while the DOJ says the information from the gun shop was needed to aid in the criminal investigation, the FBI has yet to release further details about the weapons used by Soofi and the other shooter, Elton Simpson, in the attack.

The lack of information on the attack has prompted Senate investigators to demand answers from federal authorities, a push that could reveal whether the gun Soofi purchased was under a government operation and actually used in a terrorist attack on American soil.

The Garland attacks left both Soofi and Simpson dead and an unarmed security guard injured.

Sources: Los Angeles TimesCNN (2)

Photo Credit: FRJ/Wikimedia Commons