An old policy memo from the Clinton administration paved the way for accused Arizona gunman Jared Loughner to buy his first firearm, reports the Washington Post. Put in place by then-Attorney General Janet Reno, the policy prohibited the military from reporting certain drug abusers to the FBI, which manages the national list of prohibited gun-buyers.
Loughner attempted to enlist in the Army in 2008 but was rejected because he failed a drug-screening process. Within a year, he bought a shotgun from Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson. In November, he went back to the same store and purchased a Glock 19 – the one he is accused of using in the Jan. 8 rampage that killed six and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Federal law since 1968 has prohibited gun sales to anyone who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. Licensed dealers have been required to check the backgrounds of gun-buyers since 1994. The Reno policy told federal agencies not to report people who had voluntarily given drug tests for fear it would deter them from seeking treatment.