FBI answers lead to more questions on how felon passed background check to buy gun

KANSAS CITY, Mo -- An FBI background check wasn't enough to stop a dangerous felon from buying a gun he used to shoot three Kansas City police officers.

You saw it first on FOX4 Tuesday night, the breakdown that allowed Marlin Mack to buy the gun. FOX4 Problem Solvers continue to ask questions about how Mack was allowed to buy the gun, and we've gotten some answers.

Those answers have brought up more questions.

Police say 25-year-old Marlin Mack shot and killed UMKC graduate student Sharath Koppu on July 6 near 54th and Prospect during an attempted robbery.

Kansas City police found Mack nine days later, and he shot three Kansas City police officers during a shootout. Mack was killed.

As FOX4 Problem Solvers previously reported, Mack bought the AK-47 pistol he used to shoot the officers at The Armory KC gun store in Independence one day before the shooting. Mack passed the FBI background check even though he was a convicted felon and not allowed to have a gun.

Marlin Mack

“What are your police officers saying about this whole thing?” FOX4 reporter Shannon O’Brien asked Brad Lemon, president of the Kansas City Police Union.

“You know, the same thing everybody else is. How did he get a gun? How was he out? How was he allowed to put himself in the position?” Lemon said.

The KCPD officers are still recovering from the incident a month ago. To answer Lemon’s questions, FOX4 Problem Solvers contacted the FBI to ask how Mack passed the background check and was allowed to leave the store with a powerful gun.

FBI Spokesperson Stephen Fischer sent this reply:

“Mr. Mack provided false biographical information at the time of his firearm purchase. That information can only be verified at the point of sale. The false information was submitted to the FBI and searched through the national instant criminal background check system (NICS).  As the false information did not match a prohibited record, the request was cleared to proceed.”

Michael Tabman is a retired FBI Special Agent in Charge. He said it's important to know what the false biographical information is to determine where the breakdown occurred.

Marlin Mack

"In that case that if it is someone else`s name, date of birth, it comes back not a hit then. What are you going to do? There is not much we can argue about. It was a false ID," Tabman said. “The other could be it was just a misstep that still should have been picked up."

Since FOX4 didn't get specifics from the FBI, we went to The Armory KC. The owner didn't want to go on camera but let us see the information he said Mack provided on the application and matched his Missouri driver’s license.

The name is slightly different. We're talking about Marlin James Mack Jr., but Mack said his middle initial was "W."

Mack’s place of birth was also incorrect, but the most important piece of information, his birthday, was correct.

Tabman now owns Spirit Asset Protection and routinely runs background checks for employers. FOX4 gave him the exact information provided to the FBI and asked him to see what he could find.

Tabman entered the name Marlin Mack with the birthday Mack provided, 5-25-93, and Marlin James Mack Jr. popped up right away with a long list of felony convictions.

Although the middle name is not the same, Tabman said this should have at least triggered a three-day hold while the FBI investigated further.

When FOX4 asked Fischer about the information we uncovered, he replied, “We have no further comment at this time."