FBI arrests Austin man said to be planning 'mass shooting'

According to a criminal complaint document, an FBI agent with the Joint Terrorism Task Force received information that 50-year-old Austin man Steven Boehle, identified as "Duke," was planning a mass shooting. 

A confidential source told the FBI Boehle exhibits "sovereign citizen extremism ideology" and that he'd recently tried to buy a gun but was denied.

The FBI figured out that's happened to Boehle several times over the years.  But the National Instant Criminal Background Check System or NICS has prevented him from successfully buying and keeping one -- in one instance in 2002, he bought a pistol but had to return it when the background check came through.

Most recently, Boehle tried to buy a gun at Central Texas Gunworks, owned by second amendment advocate Michael Cargill.

"We will type their name and all of that information in and it gets transmitted to the FBI and then it comes back either proceed, delay or deny.  And in his case he was delayed and then denied," Cargill said.

The FBI says when Boehle filled out paperwork at Cargill's shop he answered "no" to the question "Have you ever been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?"

"Absolutely, if you've been convicted of domestic violence then you cannot purchase a firearm from an FFL dealer," Cargill said.

Boehle was convicted of domestic violence in Connecticut in 1993.

"The system actually worked.  We have a lot of things that are in place...one, the NICS system.  The gun store employees are supposed to take a look at the person, talk to the person and if they're feeling something that's not right then they're supposed to say something and make sure that we don't proceed with that transaction," Cargill said.

On April 12, a state search warrant was executed in an apartment at 615 West St. Johns in North Austin. 

A stockpile of guns and ammo was found.  A witness Boehle was living with said she didn't know he had brought guns into her apartment and became "visibly upset."

At the Capitol on Tuesday, State Rep. Gina Hinojosa from Austin laid out House Bill 4200 before the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.  She calls it a "lie and try" bill.

"What it does is it creates a State offense, a State criminal offense when somebody knowingly tries to purchase a firearm who is not permitted to purchase a firearm," Hinojosa said.

She says someone who lies trying to buy a gun would be investigated by DPS for possible referral to local law enforcement. 

Punishment would be a Class A misdemeanor in addition to the existing federal offense.

"People can repeatedly try to circumvent the law, to break the law, the Federal law to try and get a gun and there are no consequences because Federal law enforcement is not enforcing this. So the attempt is to create this as a state offense so that our own State law enforcement can enforce it and can investigate it to keep us safe," Hinojosa said.

At the moment Boehle is charged with "False statement in connection with attempted acquisition of a firearm" and "unlawful possession of a firearm."
The FBI says there will be a detention hearing for Boehle this Thursday at the Federal courthouse to determine whether he'll remain in Federal custody or be released on bond.

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