Sisters of mass-shooting victim want stricter background checks for firearm sales

Local News

MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Carla Byrne and Marcy Askins experienced an unimaginable tragedy last year’s Labor Day weekend mass shooting, losing their brother, Joe Griffith, who was slain in front of his family driving to take church photos. Friday, the families of Griffith and Leliah Hernandez announced together at the Ector County Courthouse they are suing the gun manufacturer, Anderson Manufacturing, and the alleged seller of the firearm, Marcus Braziel.

“We are not asking for a national registry … We don’t want to take away your guns… A good guy with a gun is who killed Seth Ator. Good guys with guns are who stopped him from murdering more people. We don’t want to take away your guns, we want to prevent illegal buyers from having guns.”

Marcy Askins, Joe’s sister

One thing they are pushing for is the advancement of House Bill 8, which would require background checks for all public and private purchases, with some outside exceptions, like grandfathering in a firearm. If similar legislation was in place, the seller could have faced criminal charges for selling to Seth Ator, who failed a background check in 2014, had 2 misdemeanor arrests, and was considered not mentally fit to own that style of firearm.

Braziel is accused of of buying nearly 100 firearms for 4 FFLs (federal firearm licenses), and selling to 71 people. One of the FFLs is Anderson Manufacturing, which the suit alleges he was a frequent purchaser from. As an FFL, they must check if he is selling at that rate. Braziel is not an FFL.

He’s selling 71 guns … and one of those went to Seth Ator. Who knows who they went to? and 70 others did not get background checks. So 71 random people are out there purchasing guns from this guy.

Carla Byrne, Joe’s sister

Braziel had almost 2 dozen guns siezed by the FBI. He has requested they be returned to him. He is still under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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