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Juvenile record expunged for mass shooter, allowing him to pass background checks for guns


Connor Betts shot and killed 9 people and injured 27 others in Dayton's Oregon District. (CNN Newsource)
Connor Betts shot and killed 9 people and injured 27 others in Dayton's Oregon District. (CNN Newsource)
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Several classmates of Dayton mass shooter Connor Betts revealed a "hit list" he made in high school that indicated the male classmates he wanted to kill and females he wanted to rape. Prosecutors confirm a case was filed against Betts years ago related to the lists in Greene County Juvenile Court. However, that case has since been sealed and expunged. Without knowing what was in his juvenile record, legal experts say nothing stood in Betts' way in buying the two guns he had with him Sunday morning when he killed nine people and injured more than 20.

"There's nothing in this individual's history or record that would have precluded him from purchasing that firearm," Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told reporters Sunday. The police department revealed pictures of the AK-15 style rifle Betts had with him and indicated a separate shotgun was in his car.

"At some point, records become expunged, and they're destroyed," said criminal defense attorney Stephen Palmer. "Any destroyed records isn't going to impact somebody's rights, whether they're firearms rights or any other rights going forwards."

Palmer said an expungement can be given or requested once a young offender has done what the court asks like counseling, monitoring or family intervention.

"We do have a right to privacy in our country," Palmer said. "We do have the right to possess a firearm. Like it or not, that's what it is."

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Violent offenses in the juvenile system, however, are harder to expunge and can still show up on a criminal background check when buying a weapon, at least in Ohio. The state uses the term "adjudicated" for juveniles as opposed to convicted. In a federal background check, offenders of a violent crime as a juvenile to not have indicate they were ever convicted of a crime due to the language used.

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