COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - This week's events marking the one-year anniversary of the Mother Emanuel slayings remind us of the circumstances that allowed Dylann Roof to arm himself.
They involved the system that gives a seller and federal authorities a chance to determine whether the buyer could be a public safety risk. That system failed in the Roof case, but changes have been made to help prevent another failure.
During Friday's services at Emanuel AME, and over the past few weeks, there have been a number of references to the "Charleston loophole." The problem many critics see with that part of the procedure to buy a gun had some additional complications in the Dylann Roof case.
In the days following his arrest for the Mother Emanuel murders, we learned Roof had a previous arrest by the Columbia Police on a felony drug charge in February 2015. But in the booking process, an employee at the Lexington County Detention Center made a mistake, listing the sheriff's department as the arresting agency.
Two days later, an officer noticed the mistake and changed the records but that change was not accessible to the FBI in April when Roof went to buy the .45 caliber Glock used in the killings. The confusion over the arresting agency led to a delay that extended beyond the three day waiting period for gun purchases, and that meant the sale went through.
On Friday, a sheriff's spokesman said the procedures at the jail have been changed to increase accuracy of information on inmates. Manual entry of information about the arresting agency is now required, eliminating default entries in the computer program.
Captain Adam Myrick says staff members perform daily audits and supervisors review the criminal history of each inmate before release. He says staff has also been realigned during peak booking hours to better insure a thorough review of each inmate's information.
That said, there is still much criticism of the concept of a waiting period that can expire before a background check is completed---something those critics say happens far too often.