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Gun Sale Was Foiled Before Shooting at White House

November 11, 1994|From Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Francisco Martin Duran, the ex-convict accused of shooting at the White House, was prevented from buying a pistol a month before the incident when a gun dealer ran a background check on him.

No such on-the-spot check was required when he bought the rifle he allegedly used at the White House.

"The law did what it was intended to do in terms of preventing Francisco Duran from purchasing a handgun on Sept. 30," said Jim Borowski, head of the state bureau of investigation's crime information center. The bureau checks prospective handgun buyers in compliance with the Brady handgun control law Congress passed in February.

The owner of High Country Wholesale Firearms, James Wear, said Wednesday that Duran tried to buy the pistol on Sept. 30, about two weeks after buying the semiautomatic rifle seized in the Oct. 29 incident at the White House.

On his handgun application, as on his earlier rifle application, Duran did not mention his felony assault conviction, Wear said.

Felons are barred from gun possession. No waiting period for a background check is required before a rifle purchase is completed. The Brady law includes a five-day wait so authorities can check handgun buyers' backgrounds.

Duran's attempt to buy the pistol came on the day he left home in Security, telling his wife he was going to stock up on material for target practice. The next she heard of him, he was accused of the White House shooting.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell's office told authorities that it received a threatening phone call from a man identifying himself as Francisco Martin Duran two months before Duran is alleged to have fired at the White House.

The man called Aug. 23 and threatened to "go to Washington and take someone out," apparently because of the crime bill, which banned many military-style semiautomatic rifles, the Colorado Democrat's spokeswoman said Thursday.

The call was one of hundreds of angry, threatening or obscene calls Campbell's Colorado Springs office received during that time, Knight said. It came two days before Campbell voted for the legislation.

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