Nearly three months before the deadly shooting in Lewiston, Maine, Robert R. Card II was denied the purchase of a firearm silencer at a local gun shop due to his disclosure of mental health issues on a form. The owner of Coastal Defense Firearms, Rick LaChapelle, revealed that Card had attempted to pick up the silencer on August 5, after purchasing it from another store. However, Card’s admission of mental health issues on the required Form 4473 led to the shop declining the sale.
Card’s mental health and access to firearms have been under scrutiny during the investigation into the mass shooting, where he killed 18 people and injured 13 others at a bowling alley and a bar. It was discovered that Card had a recent evaluation at a mental health facility after a confrontation with officials at a National Guard training facility in New York. However, there is no information to suggest that Card had ever been forcibly committed for mental health treatment, according to Maine Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Sauschuck.
The Form 4473, which Card filled out in August, included a question about mental health history. Card indicated that he had been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution. Under federal law, these criteria prohibit individuals with mental health issues from purchasing or possessing firearms and related equipment. The gun shop staff waited for Card to sign the document before declining the sale. Card responded politely, stating that he would consult his attorney and return later, but he never came back.
Authorities have confirmed that Card legally purchased his weapons, passing background checks that assess mental fitness. The FBI stated that there was no information in their background check system that would have prevented Card from legally obtaining a gun.