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Colton Crews (courtesy

“Micah Johnson never balked at the $600 asking price for an AK-47 assault rifle,” reports. “The buy was arranged via Facebook, and consummated in the parking lot of a Target.”

The New York Daily News offers no proof of that Micah X. Johnson used Facebook to set-up the sale of the firearm that may have been used in the Dallas police massacre — depending on whether or not the reporters misidentified the rifle in question.

[Note: the killer used an AK-74 not an AK-47. I’m assuming that the seller, one Colton Crews, knows the difference and that the News got it wrong. Otherwise, Mr. Crews wouldn’t be so rattled by the sale. I guess.]

The story’s based entirely on the sellers’ statements. Anyway, Facebook’s response to a Facebook-arranged sale to a cop killer could be . . . drastic. Meanwhile . . .

Colton Crews [obscured above] forgot about the deal until last week, when ex-Army reservist Johnson killed five Dallas police officers — and federal investigators tracked Crews down.

“I don’t even know how I feel about it right now,” Crews told the Daily News. “I have no idea. It’s awful. It’s just bad.”

Crews, 26, said there was no inkling during their 15-minute November 2014 transaction that Johnson was anything except a military veteran and a solid citizen.

Needless to say, gun control advocates will seize on the transaction as an example of the dangers of unregulated private firearms sales. They will once again call for “universal background checks” in states like Texas where private sales are – gasp! – private.

It’s an issue of which Mr. Crews, drummer for San Antonio’s monkeysphere, is not entirely unaware, especially now.

No red flags were raised, no second-guessing ensued. Under Texas law for a private sale, no background check is needed when the seller is not a licensed gun dealer.

“First off, it was my belief he would have passed a background check,” said Crews. “He didn’t seem weird in any way, just a normal guy.”

A short conversation ensued, mostly small talk as Johnson made sure the rifle was in working condition. Crews, who conducted a bit of an online background check on Johnson, felt like he’d made a fair deal with a good guy.

If Mr. Crews used Mr. Johnson’s Facebook page for his background check, he might have discovered that the “good guy” purchasing the firearm had links to racial hate groups. Or not. In any case, I’m skeptical that Mr. Crews did any research before meeting Mr. Johnson at Target to sell his AK.

Once the story came together, Crews found himself badly shaken. He says his interest in guns is now gone, and he opted out of a weekend deal to buy a shotgun.

“It’s the fact that I feel partially responsible for all this s— that’s happened,” he said. “That’s it. That’s what it is. … He’s just one guy who bought a gun from me, and he decided to do something completely awful.”

Mr. Crews is not responsible for Mr. Johnson’s actions. No one can see into the heart of man. Besides, if Crews hadn’t sold Johnson the AK-74 used in his crime — again assuming that the News got the nomenclature wrong — I doubt Mr. Johnson would have given up his murderous plans and taken-up gardening (for example).

Regardless, the Second Amendment protects all Americans from government infringement on the right to keep and bear arms, which includes buying and selling.

Curtailing that right to punish millions of law-abiding gun owners for the actions of a single madman is wrong. As President Obama recently reminded us, “We cannot let the actions of a few define all of us.”

That said, if the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex wants to “close the private gun sale loophole” — which is no more of a loophole than the private sale of books —  they should make the FBI’s background check system available to private gun sellers. That is all.

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      • Actually, this article has been edited at least twice since it was first posted, and the first 2 versions (that I saw) referred to his comments as a “prevarication.”

        Nice try, though. 😉

  1. Johnson could have legally purchased the rifle from any FFL in America. He would have passed the FBI background check. Neither the ATF Form 4473 nor the FBI check would have accounted for his affinity for these ‘radical’ organizations. Hell, as I recall the Orlando shooter was once on the terror watch list and the feds still allowed him to possess firearms. Nothing to see here other than the left’s obsession for ‘universal background checks’ which would eliminate these private transactions.

    • Exactly.

      I’d no more feel guilty over legally selling a firearm, than I would over selling my truck, a powertool, baseball bat, etc. What someone does with something after I have legally sold it to them is not my problem, nor responsibility.

      Do you think the car dealerships that sold those two folks that ran people over in Vegas felt bad about selling those people the cars they used? (2005 and 2015) (Rhetorical)

    • Target didn’t ban guns.

      The CEO said he’d prefer people not OC (or carry at all) *IN* their stores.

      No corporate policy was issued. Most, if not all, Targets are not legally signed to prevent carrying.

      It was a publicity stunt by the CEO to get MDA off his back…had no teeth, not even the teeth of internal policy guidance to local managers.

      • Many of the ones around here have Starbucks inside. Cracks me up to OC in a Starbucks in a Target.

        ** cue yo dawg meme **

        ETA: unrelated to the post I replied to, the gun in the pics didn’t look like any $600 AK. Something’s not making sense there.

  2. Guess I missed something, last I saw, the gun was an AK-74, not an AK-47, making the whole grab for attention silly.

    • Didn’t TTAG just have an article yesterday explaining that the firearm used was a Saiga 5.45×39?

      That makes it an “AK-74ish” firearm.

      I think AK-74’s are full auto.

      • I don’t think so, I bought what was purported to be an AK-74 years ago at a gun show for my nephew (got in a ruckus with the seller over “straw purchase” or whatever, I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, wouldn’t know an AK-74 from an SKS, either), which was semi, obviously.

  3. If he bought a converted AK47 from a contact on facebook, then who cares?
    I’m barely interested in where he purchased the AK74 he actually used, not the AK47 he didn’t use.

  4. This is an AK-47?
    And it was sitting in his apartment when he went on his crime spree?
    Who gives a damn about that?

    Where did he get the AK-74 he shot the cops with?

    • Who really cares about that either?

      Seriously. Does ‘where he got it’ change what he actually did with it?

      We in the US are obsessed with the why’s and wherefore’s. I think we need to get back to just considering the what just a bit more.

      • Its important to know if the person that sold him the weapon had similar views or plans, or knew his intent. That’s the reason where he got it from is important.

  5. I always get a kick out of the naming of specific boards like CL, FB, whatever.
    Like it matters? There is no shortage of communication mediums. Literally anyone anywhere can post info, create a forum or even copy a social media site for a weekends worth of time and less than a hundred bucks. If the Internet didn’t exist there’d still be Penny Saver/Bargain News style publications, flyers on telephone poles and word of mouth.
    There’s nothing special or magical or remotely regulate-able about humans communicating.

    • True and well said.

      McAfee talked about this in some depth when Milo interviewed him back in May. He said some interesting stuff.

      For example…humans have been communicating in code via letters, leaving messages in public (blinds open or closed kind of thing), etc, since the dawn of humanity.

      But now, all of a sudden, electronic digital communication is something the government needs access to and regulation and control over?

      It’s nonsense.

      He made a compelling case.

  6. Also, they did a really poor job of “obscuring” Crews’ picture. When they give out his full name, state of residence, and a picture like that, I’m not sure what the point is of making his picture a little darker.

  7. Have these morons never heard of Armslist? I’ve bought, sold, and traded plenty of items on there. I have never scoured FB for a firearm sale.

  8. This man is so shaken up that he has “lost his interest for guns”, he doesn’t want his face pictured, but he managed to plug his band in the interview.

    • He’s welcome to ship me all of the guns he is no longer interested in any longer. I will give them love, shelter, and a new home.

  9. Micah Johnson had no criminal record, had received an honorable discharge from the army, and was part of the IRR at the time he committed his crime. Similarly, Omar Mateen was employed by a security company, and had passed all the necessary conditions to carry firearms as part of his job. In Canada, Australia, the UK, and most other nations that permit civilian firearms ownership, both men would have qualified for firearms licenses.

  10. It was not an AK-47. Just an AK pattern rifle. and why would he “balk” at $600 to by one? Seems like a bargain for a Ak74/Saiga. Sloppy, sensationalist writing

  11. So where did he buy the Saiga 5.45?

    Non-story. He would have passed a background check, easily.

    Not that progs will understand the distinction.

  12. Yep. Simply another example of how the left hates our freedom to communicate, to buy and to sell useful tools that are protected by the second amendment..

    In the end, except for the freedom to kill unborn babies, sexual license and the freedom of a man, that feels like a woman, to use a womans bathroom; this just shows how the left hates and despises freedom of any kind. They are tyrants that need, at the point of a gun. to tell other people, how thier lives should be lived.

    • ThomasR,

      The Left really does not hate freedom. In fact they demand the freedom to do whatever they want all the time. Rather, the Left hates anything that feels bad and wants to ban anything that feels bad. It just so happens that the Left has no qualms banning people like us who “make” them feel bad … and banning includes the possibilities of imprisonment and execution.

      When it comes to making the Left feel better, everything is on the table. If a “solution” requires eliminating Due Process, so be it. If a “solution” requires confiscating your property without just compensation, so be it. If a “solution” requires imprisoning or killing you, so be it.

      Saying it another way, the Left willing to do anything and everything to eliminate their political enemies.

      • No, the left hates true freedom. They promote their version of freedom which is an illusion. What they are driving towards is complete dependence on the government.

    • Why would you find it interesting to make an unconstitutional (NICS) system available to the general public for arms sales? Not only is NICS an unconstitutional infringement specifically prohibited by the Second Amendment it has been spectacularly ineffective at preventing evil people from purchasing weapons even when it is used.

      • Aye. If a private seller wants to do a background check, let them pay for a private company to do a background check. That can be accomplished right now by those with their panties in a twist; those Sunshine Patriots. The government’s meathooks should not even be involved.

    • I believe that was part of the early bill written for the 1994 AWB, but a group wanted it only accessed by FFL’s vice a public accessible system.

      Until we can predict the future with 100% accuracy then passing the background check only means so far so good.

      I tried to find a reference about the changes that AWB had while being dreamed up in Congress. Didn’t have any luck.

  13. I have thought for a while that Obama could TODAY open up NICs to voluntary private, free background checks. Either the buyer could order it on themselves or the seller could, after requesting info from the buyer. I think a lot of private sellers might opt for it. As of right now, a private seller has no option to do a background check even if they want to or are concerned.

    The federal government both wants all transactions going through an FFL, wants to prevent sellers from selling as many as two guns, but also wants to prevent home based or “kitchen table” ffls from being licensed and encourages distributers to drop them.

    Mandatory Universal background checks just criminalize the seller and make them responsible rather than punishing criminals with guns or felons from buying. It won’t work anyway, without universal registration and a compliant populace. You would have to then make people prove that any gun they have was recently background checked, maybe require everyone to carry proof of background checks to the gun range. Papers please? We will all be criminals in the end.

    • Almost every other recent spree killer has passed NICS (or had the 72 hour review period pass), why should this one be any different?

      The entire point is that not only is NICS a blatant unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment, it does not work.

    • Yes. He had no criminal record in the state of Texas. Was honorably discharged. Had no mental health issues recordable. He had one sexual harassment allegation that was dropped that resulted in his honorable discharge.

      He would have passed a background check.

  14. Opening up NICS, as it exists today, to the general public probably wouldn’t have much acceptance. “Sure, stranger in a Cabela’s parking lot, here’s my Social Security number and every other piece of identifying information you need for identity theft. I sure hope you don’t misuse it!”

    It would be possible to construct a new system where a buyer submits his information securely and receives a verification code that the seller can check for authenticity, but recent experience suggests our government isn’t capable of implementing such a miracle of 2003 technology in an effective or secure fashion.

    Of course, all this presupposes that background checks are both constitutional and effective at preventing harm, neither of which is true.

    • A social security number is not required for a NICS check. And with a person’s name, I can find out almost everything about them with the online tools I have at my disposal. Such information would include a person’s criminal background, judgments, telephone numbers, real estate owned, mortgages, salary (yes, salary), family members and more. A lot more. More than any NICS check.

      Your objection, while sincere, is 25 years out of date.

      • Yep. The means for anyone wishing to do a background check exists now. I think the rub is that they don’t want to pay for it. They want Uncle Government to pay for it.

    • As I recall the discussion, the objection to an open NICS really was not about gun buyers, it had to do with daddy checking out who is dating his daughter, and such nonsense, being used so much that someone trying to buy a gun wouldn’t be able to even get his request in.

  15. Mr Johnson would have passed a background check anyway from all indications so far. However, had he bought that Saiga rifle new from a dealer, he would have paid twice that. An SGL 31 is selling at K-Var for $1,500
    $600 for a Saiga seems pretty cheap.

    • I almost bought an unconverted Saiga for $700. A half converted Saiga for $600 is a steal in this market. Back before the sanctions on Kalashnikov Concern, half converted Saigas were going for about $500 and unconverted Saigas were going for $300-400.

  16. “they should make the FBI’s background check system available to private gun sellers.”

    That was the plan, initially. Opening NICS to private sellers was scrapped because there was no way that a seller would retain a Form 4473. That form is the end-game. Without it or a similar record, how can the G confiscate the guns?

    I don’t sell guns to private parties unless I can check them out. Which is actually very easy to do utilizing online tools.

    I MA, I can check their license to carry and the state will send me a good standing certificate for my records. Once that’s in my hands, nobody can claim that I was negligent in selling a gun.

    • Anyone could claim anything. Credibly claim is the question. For me, as long as the buyer doesn’t say something that would indicate that they are a “prohibited” person, I don’t worry about it. I’ve never gone fishing and I don’t intend to start.

  17. Gasp…maybe try not to be so flippant when addressing legitimate concerns of both anti-gunners and pro-gunners alike. They are not always so ridiculous as the very vocal minority of gun grabbers make them seem. The second amendment is not all encompassing, you said it yourself, maybe the FBI background check needs to be extended to private sales. The root of the issue is mental health, but as of right now, guns are the tools of choice for these assholes, and dismissing the legitimate fears of the gungrabbers with a …gasp…is, in this case, just brushing aside a relevant concern with a juvenile insult.

    • Anyone in this day and age can pay for a background check prior to a gun sale. There is no need to have government do it. I really wish people would stop asking for more chains. We are shackled enough already.

    • You are SO right! Wish I was as deep a thinker as YOU. We dont mind some more restrictions, because these Obama programmed BLM muslim maniacs are only using guns! Such clarity in your brilliance! Thank you for adding that breakthrough to the conversation. And we must also safeguard these maniacs from getting pressure cookers, trucks, and molotov cocktails. Please elucidate us further with your wisdom how that can be done, and thanks so much for your earnest solutions.

    • Background checks accomplish nothing, because they were never intended to accomplish anything. The goal is *registration*, which UBC is intended to accomplish. Being gullible is not an attractive trait.

  18. One private sale to someone who was a scum bag should not be justification for raping the rest of us of our right. This worm would have gotten a gun somehow. They always do.

  19. Again this is not a gun problem this is a social issue that needs to be addressed by our government and the leaders of certain groups. Time to stop the war on police by having both sides listen. The police must invest in their local law abiding citizens as allies not put up a blue wall. The law abiding citizens should reach out to police by treating them with respect even if they have some horse’s butts on the force.

    As with certain religious groups they should stop harboring ill will toward police and preach cooperation. The fact is many Muslim groups support terror or do little to stop it.

    Mutual respect and cooperation is what is needed by all. Leaders of ALL groups should preach to all to become good law abiding citizens and nothing less. Lets start with that……

  20. Actual story: leftist extremist Obama loving BLM thug buys gun and shoots cops. Do we want to know what brand toothpaste this BLM killer used? How about what kind of car he drove? Would his preference in breakfast foods give us the skinny on his crimes?


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