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Friend of Columbine Killers Bought Weapons at Gun Show Without Background Check

By Ed Somers


Robyn Anderson, a friend of the two students responsible for the killings at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, assisted them in buying three of the four weapons used in the massacre from different sellers at the Tanner gun show outside of Denver.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has been actively supporting a change in federal law to close the “gun show loophole” which allows unlicensed dealers to sell weapons at gun shows without conducting a Brady law background check. This provision is included in Senate-passed juvenile justice legislation, but has been rejected by the House of Representatives. Following a two-month vacation by the Congress, there appears to be no action in the House-Senate Conference Committee on the juvenile justice bill. The following statement was released recently by her attorneys. Ms. Anderson has not been charged.

Statement of Robyn Anderson, January 26, 2000

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had gone to the Tanner gun show on Saturday and they took me back with them on Sunday. I remember this as being in November or December of 1998. When Eric and Dylan had gone the previous day, a dealer told them that they needed to bring someone back who was 18. They were both 17 at the time. This was a private dealer - not a licensed dealer. While we were walking around, Eric and Dylan kept asking sellers if they were private or licensed. They wanted to buy their guns from someone who was private- and not licensed- because there would be no paperwork or background check. At one point Eric was interested in a gun from a licensed dealer. The dealer asked me if I would fill out some paperwork and I said, “No I didn’t feel comfortable with that.” I didn’t want to put my name on something that I wasn’t going to have control of.

They bought guns from three sellers. They were all private. They paid cash. There was no receipt. I was not asked any questions at all. There was no background check. All I had to do was show my driver’s license to prove that I was 18. Dylan got a shotgun. Eric got a shotgun and black rifle that he bought clips for. He was able to buy clips and ammunition without me having to show any I.D. The sellers didn’t write down any information. I would not have bought a gun for Eric and Dylan if I had had to give any personal information or submit to any kind of check at all. I think it was clear to the sellers that the guns were for Eric and Dylan. They were the ones asking all the questions and handling the guns. I had no idea what they were eventually going to do with the guns. When I look back at it, I think I was kind of naive. I wish a law requiring background checks had been in effect at the time. I don’t know if Eric and Dylan would have been able to get guns from another source but I would not have helped them. It was too easy. I wish it had been more difficult. I wouldn’t have helped them buy the guns if I had faced a background check.

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