Store Owner Praised for Refusing Gun Sale to Suspected Mass Shooter

Gun Shop Owner WGN News
WGN News

The owner of Downs Bait and Guns is being praised for refusing a gun sale to a suspected mass shooter who passed an FBI background check for his firearm.

The alleged would-be mass shooter–James Howard–passed a background check on March 21, but the store owner suspected Howard had plans to “hurt himself or others,” so he refused to hand the gun to Howard. According to WGN News, store owner John Downs told Howard, “You know what, bud, I have a really bad feeling about this. I just can’t sell you the gun.” Howard is alleged to have left the store outraged, only to return a short time later.

When he returned, Downs loaded guns to use for self-defense, “told customers to hide,” and dialed 911. “Howard was later arrested at a nearby Walmart.”

Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North said, “From what I know of the circumstances, I believe [Downs] did prevent a mass shooting that was probably going to occur at (Ohio University) in Athens.” North said Howard “had an enormous amount of ammunition he was going to purchase, shotgun shells and 22-caliber rifle ammunition.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at