PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — How did a 29-year-old young man — with seemingly so many mental health issues — get his hands on firearms?
“We have a situation where the person shouldn’t have had the firearms,” says Kim Stolfer of Firearms Owners Against Crime. “Law enforcement should have done more to stop the person. They revoked his Firearms Owners ID Card in Illinois, which should have prohibited him from having guns. The FBI had even taken action on him. So why did he have them?”
Stolfer says police knew of Travis Reinking‘s record of bizarre behavior from accusing Taylor Swift of hacking his phone to showing up at a pool with an AR-15 in a pink dress before exposing himself to lifeguards, and then trying to breach the White House gates last August.
“Law enforcement identified someone who shouldn’t have firearms. Where did the government take action against him for his mental instability?” asks Stolfer.
Ultimately, the FBI and Illinois confiscated his guns but gave them to Reinking’s father, who agreed to secure them away from his son.
But when Travis Reinking moved to Tennessee, his father returned his weapons.
What if this had happened in Pennsylvania?
KDKA political editor Jon Delano talked to the State Police who said that here in Pennsylvania if a family member or anyone knowingly gives a firearm to someone not allowed to have it, then that individual who gives the firearm could be subject to charges.
“He could potentially be exposed to both criminal and civil liability,” says David Shrager, a local criminal defense attorney.
Shrager says in this state the father broke a law by transferring the guns, but would not, in his view, be implicated in the Waffle House murders.
Delano: “Could he be charged with the crime committed by his son?”
Shrager: “No, I don’t think that would be realistic. That would be a conspiracy charge, and there would have to be an agreement.”
But Stolfer disagrees with that conclusion.
“He can be sued in civil court and be criminally prosecuted and go to jail as an accessory to those crimes committed,” says Stolfer, a Second Amendment rights advocate.
Delano: “Do prosecutors prosecute that in Pennsylvania?”
Stolfer: “Unfortunately, it’s one of the first things thrown away.”
Delano: “Bargained away?”
Stolfer: “Plea bargained away.”
At this point, it’s unclear what charges, if any, will be brought against the father.