New Jersey Bomber Used Virginia ID to Purchase Pistol


New Jersey bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami has something in common with seven of the 9/11 hijackers: he used a Virginia ID to carry out his attack. Despite improved laws, Mr. Rahami managed to secure a state ID and a fishing license, which he used to purchase a firearm in Virginia. A gun he later used to shoot and wound two police officers during his eventual apprehension. As reports, it gets better/worse . . .

All states, including Virginia, require that gun purchasers pass a background check designed to spot any red flag, such as a felony conviction or dishonorable discharge from the military, that forbids a person from buying a gun in the United States.

Rahami’s background includes a guilty plea for violating a domestic violence restraining order in New Jersey in 2012 and an allegation that he stabbed a brother in New Jersey in 2014, according to New Jersey court records. On the latter matter, a grand jury declined to indict Rahami, the records said.

Federal law bars anyone convicted of domestic violence from buying a gun, but a search of Rahami’s records showed no such conviction.

Rahami passed the federal background check [a.k.a., NICS] instantly, state police said.

The NSSF and NRA contend that we need to “Fix NICS” before expanding it — their go-to argument against federally mandated “universal background checks.” While politically palatable, you can’t fix what never worked in the first place. As Mr. Rahami’s case, and so many others, proves.


  1. avatar Rick the Bear (now in NH!!) says:

    So many people I know think that a background check really means something. As many have previously noted, it’s only as good (or bad) as the database.

    1. avatar Josh says:

      What sucks is that yesterday I wanted to pick up the Henry 30 30 I ordered ,put on a five day delay, when I purchased my czp09 ,five day delay, when I purchased my mini 30 …five day delay. Too me a right delayed is a right denied . It’s beyond, I don’t wanna say it passes me off but it gets real annoying .

      1. avatar Kevin says:

        You need to move to Texas. With my CHL/LTC, it took longer to drive to the store I bought my last pistol at than it did to do the “paperwork”.

      2. avatar LGS Student says:

        By law, the can only delay it 3 full days until you can pick it up. If you are denied on Monday, and can find no reason to deny, they HAVE to transfer the firearm on friday at most.

    2. avatar Cliff H says:


      You can’t polish shit. The NICS system is unconstitutional and should be attacked on that basis, not on the fact that it doesn’t work in the first place to accomplish the unconstitutional purpose for which it was created.

      This guy used a BOMB for his terrorist act and only used the pistol in self defense. How he acquired that pistol is irrelevant.

  2. avatar Model 31 says:

    UBC was never intended to keep guns out of felon hands as advertised and it does accomplish its primary goal as intended.

    1. avatar jmf552 says:

      I have to disagree. First, UBC means Universal Background Check, which thankfully does not yet exist at the federal level, so you cannot correctly say that something that does not exist has accomplished its goal. Second, the NICS system was designed, per an amendment to the Brady Law, to keep guns out of the hands of “prohibited persons,” which includes felons. Third, it has not accomplished that stated goal. There are too many very public incidents to the contrary.

      Fourth, another goal of the NICS system was to alert law enforcement about prohibited persons violating the law by trying to buy guns through the NICS system. It has failed in that because even though there are thousands of violations identified each year, very, very few are prosecuted. Fifth, the NICS system fails in that it collects data on the actual guns purchased, even thought he law says those records are not to be kept by the government. Why collect information you are not supposed to have by law. And a recent Government Accounting Office report has revealed that ATF is indeed keeping those records illegally.

      The NICS system fails in almost every respect. There are better systems available. The whole system needs to be scrapped and replaced before UBCs are even a topic of discussion.

      1. avatar Model 31 says:

        You say that you disagree, but I don’t see why:

        UBC was never intended to keep guns out of felon hands as advertised…
        “Second, the NICS system was designed, per an amendment to the Brady Law, to keep guns out of the hands of “prohibited persons,” which includes felons. Third, it has not accomplished that stated goal. There are too many very public incidents to the contrary.”

        UBC was advertised to do the things you listed, but doesn’t accomplish them.

        …and it does accomplish its primary goal as intended.
        “Fifth, the NICS system fails in that it collects data on the actual guns purchased, even thought he law says those records are not to be kept by the government. Why collect information you are not supposed to have by law. And a recent Government Accounting Office report has revealed that ATF is indeed keeping those records illegally.”
        Data collection is the purpose of UBC.

      2. avatar LGS Student says:

        NICS does not show what exactly FBI or ATF what is being purchased. They can simply see the type of firearm (longgun, handgun, or other). In order to look at the 4473 and see what was purchased, they either have to audit the FFL, or or obtain a subpoena for that specific 4473.

    2. avatar Robert Farago says:


      1. avatar jmf552 says:

        Citations on an blog post? This ain’t no academic paper. Try Google Search. It’s all there.

      2. avatar Model 31 says:

        “To understand why gun owners don’t want a federal law that make background checks “universal” (i.e. mandatory for all private firearms sales) know this: background checks for firearms purchases made through an FFL create a gun registry. A database of who bought what gun when and where.”

        The database is the primary goal.

  3. avatar MarkPA says:

    Is NICS “fixable”? There are 2 aspects:
    – false positives;
    – false negatives.

    John Lott argues that there are too many false-positives; arguably, an infringement upon the 2A rights of the innocent. In light of this argument, NICS would have to be shown to be of significant public-safety value. Can the false-positive problem be fixed? Probably not.

    Then, false negatives. Clearly, this problem can’t be fixed. So, then, the remaining argument must be that NICS must be stopping – or at least delaying – some prohibited persons from acquiring guns. OK, so, let’s presume it stops 1; or a few. Now, at what cost?

    Shouldn’t NRA/NSSF/etc. compile an estimate of the cost of the NICS system? One big chunk is the cost of the contractor to run the system fielding inquiries. Much of the database cost is justified by LE-inquiries; but other parts are not. E.g., the mental-illness portions. There are States’ costs to report and Federal costs to compile and maintain. Then, the FFL costs on the sales floor. How much do these costs total? Could they be enough to house a few prisoners for another year who have been convicted of felon-in-posession or armed crime?

    1. avatar Omer Baker says:

      I say forget about the housing of violent criminals, for another year. I think execution and cremation is well within the acceptable costs to society.

    2. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      Just stop treating purchases of guns any different than purchases of tennis shoes; and the whole idiocy, along with all it’s costs and all the opportunities it affords the semiliterati to grandstand politically, will be solved virtually overnight.

  4. avatar Mike Betts says:

    Anyone with even a passing knowledge of computer terms knows what “GIGO” means.

    1. avatar Model 31 says:

      “GIGO” is applicable to political office as well.

    2. avatar Sammy says:

      If you use actual English words instead of acronyms, far larger number of readers will understand your point.

      And yes, I know what GIGO stands for, and yes, it is applicable.

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    Yeah and I’ve seriously mused about getting an Indiana ID ’cause it’s soooo much BETTER getting a gat there. HTF do the leftards ‘splain this one?!? Oh right ban everything…?.

  6. avatar C.S. says:

    Progressives would like everyone in the database… and force you to prove otherwise… They are not true liberals. Do we err on the side of Freedom or a bubble of “Safety”?

  7. avatar Icabod says:

    There’s a 2012 study that is interesting.

    In 2010 there were more then 6 million NICS checks. Of these, just over 70,000 were declined. Call it 1 percent.

    The one percent denials had 93% dropped. No action.

    By the end, of the 70 thousand denials the government go 13 convictions.

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      At least some of those denials were for false-positives, and good faith mistakes. We should be glad those weren’t prosecuted.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        93%??? System should be scrapped.

  8. avatar DaveL says:

    Isn’t it interesting how the FBI’s background check doesn’t manage to raise any red flags about how this guy was most likely a resident of New Jersey, not Virginia? Not surprising, but interesting.

  9. avatar Roquer says:

    The rrason conservatives are against universal background chexks is because the Constitution doesn’t speak of them for citizens to have firearms. The Democrats, though, have never said what a universal background check is. Their idea of background check is they hold my gun till they say I can buy it. Their rules are reatrictive enuf that no one gets a gun, legally. Meanwhile criminals have no problem stealing my guns from my home. So the criminals steal them illegally and the government steals them legally and people die from not having protection. Why is that good?

  10. avatar Binder says:

    How is he a “prohibited” person anyway? He has a conviction for violating a restraining order, probably got too close, that’s it. He has no conviction for actual domestic violence (unless TAG is for restraining orders being enough for taking away your rights). The other charges were dropped.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    I have a lot of questions about Ahmad Khan Rahami. For example:

    Did he use his Virginia ID to buy his pressure cooker? Was it shipped directly to his door without a background check? Can he cook a savory goat ragù with it, or is a pressure cooker solely a bomb component? Is he a bacha Baz (Afghans are famous for their pederasty)? Who left the back door open so this slime could legally enter the country?

  12. avatar Mark N. says:

    A DV restraining order is not a DV criminal conviction, and a violation of this restraining order may be treated by some states as a civil contempt, not a criminal contempt, but in either case, may not rise to the level of a criminal DV conviction. For example, violation often occurs simply through violating a stay away order, when the person restrained contacts the victim in person or by phone, or violates a distance restriction, i.e., without committing a criminal DV offense. So the question as to whether he was a prohibited person under federal law at the time of the purchase is open. That he may have obtained a false ID for the purpose of the purchase, and/or lied on his 4473 as to his state of residence is a separate question that also remains unanswered.

    1. avatar Binder says:

      All you need to get a Virginia driver’s license is a rental lease. Boy I bet that is hard to get.

      1. avatar I1ULUZ says:

        Here is the info getting a VA ID card:

        Way too many to cut and paste.

  13. avatar Kevin says:

    Off subject comment – TTAG, can we do away with the ads on the bottom of the page? Their kinda annoying. I try to click that stupid X and it expands bigger. And then we have to see it whenever we go to another page on the sight.

    Thanks for “listening” to my gripe. 🙂

  14. avatar W says:

    The bomber lived in Virginia, for some period of time. So, it’s no surprise that he had a Virginia ID.

    “The landlord of the home, Renee Turk, of Roanoke, said the Mohammed and his wife moved there from New Jersey to be close to relatives on December 1, 2015, but were rarely at home.”

  15. avatar Joe R. says:

    Virginia, the liberal (D)umbass region across from the jihadi-importer president in D.C.

    (I believe also home [or home away from home] to) Everytown for gun safety common sense gun grabbers tripping over each other to enact anti-Constitutional measures so that REAL U.S. citizens can’t return fire during an imported terrorist attack]

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