The woman who fatally shot three co-workers at a Rite Aid distribution center was diagnosed with a mental illness in 2016, the Harford County sheriff said Friday. But that’s not enough to disqualify a person under Maryland law from buying a handgun such as the 9 mm Glock that authorities said the shooter purchased.
The law says handgun sales must be blocked if the prospective buyer has both “a mental disorder” and “a history of violent behavior” against themselves or another person.
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler did not release details about Snochia Moseley’s diagnosis. While she had a mental illness when she bought the handgun in March, she did not meet the other condition that would have prohibited the purchase, the sheriff’s office said.
Harford County law enforcement released the identities of the victims in the shooting at the Rite Aid distribution center and more information about the timeline of events that left four dead and three injured Thursday.
Authorities said Moseley, 26, shot and killed three co-workers and injured three others before shooting herself Thursday morning at the distribution center near Aberdeen. Moseley was a temporary employee at the center, police said.
Requirements for handgun applicants include completing a form asking if they suffer from “a mental disorder” or “have a history of violent behavior against yourself or another.” Applicants get fingerprinted, take a firearms safety course, and there is a seven-day waiting period. The state’s background check is intended to reveal not only a disqualifying criminal record, but a history of violence, officials said.
“The state police know what criminal codes they are looking for in background checks and are looking to see if the individual comes up,” said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
Learning about mental disorders is more complicated.
The state’s form asks if the applicant has ever been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, or committed themselves to such a facility for more than 30 consecutive days. A “yes” answer to either of those questions will cause a person to be barred from buying the handgun.