Family of man who tried to bribe clerk for gun speaks out

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Federal documents obtained by Channel 9 said that a man with a history of mental health problems tried to purchase a 12-gauge shotgun at a gun shop on Wilkinson Boulevard. The affidavit goes on to say that James McLean "attempted to purchase body armor and approximately 100 rounds" of ammunition.

“The vest, he tried to get somewhere else,” Larry Hyatt, with Hyatt Guns, said. “But the shotgun, he was trying to buy here. And those are very lethal weapons and we certainly don't want those in the wrong hands.”
 
An employee said "McLean told him that he wanted the shotgun and body armor for home defense,” but when McLean was asked to fill out the paperwork, he listed a motel as his home even though the address on his ID card was the men's homeless shelter on College Street, according to the affidavit. An employee ran McLean’s background check and he was immediately denied.

“Denial of a gun purchase is pretty rare,” Hyatt said. “It's one-third of 1 percent, according to our records in our store.”

But the affidavit said McLean didn't give up on the gun, offering the employee "$100 to sell him the firearm anyway." When the employee refused, the documents say he offered $200. The employee refused again.

“That's a first,” Hyatt said about the alleged bribery.

The employee didn't feel right about McLean and soon investigators got involved.

McLean was committed for mental health problems 11 times and he has a domestic violence conviction out of South Carolina.

Mclean's sister said the family wants to apologize.

She said they have “been tirelessly aiding with getting proper medical care for James for over 15 years.”

Hyatt said the background check system worked perfectly. McLean is now facing federal charges for lying to try to get that gun.