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Texas Man Pleads Guilty To Unlicensed Firearms Dealing For Selling Gun To Midland-Odessa Mass Shooter

(CBSDFW.COM) - A Texas man has pleaded guilty to dealing firearms without a license after officials said he sold an AR-15 to the man who shot 32 people in the Midland-Odessa area, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

The attorney's office said Marcus Anthony Braziel, 45, also pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing to a false tax return.

Braziel admitted to selling the Midland-Odessa shooter Seth Aaron Ator an AR-15 style rifle on Oct. 8, 2016, according to plea papers.

Authorities said Ator killed seven people and wounded 25 others in shooting spree in the West Texas area on Aug. 31, 2019. He was shot and killed by police in Odessa.

According to officials, Ator was "mentally defective" and was not legally allowed to possess firearms. Officials said Braziel elected not to run background checks on any of his buyers.

According to plea papers, Braziel said he would buy firearm firing mechanisms and used milling equipment to build them into full-fledged guns. He then sold the weapons for profit by listing them online and then conducting the sales in a parking lot or his garage.

Officials also said Braziel sold firearms to four prohibited people in a four-year span, including Ator and a convicted felon.

"If you're a firearms dealer – whether you're selling out of a brick-and-mortar store, in your basement, or online – you must ensure that a background check is conducted on your purchasers," said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. "As this case makes clear, dealing firearms without a license isn't some obscure, technical violation. It is unlawful conduct that has real-world impact and the potential for devastating results. The Justice Department is committed to enforcing our nation's long-held gun laws, designed to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands."

Braziel faces up to five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

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