Suspect shouldn't have had permit
The man accused of opening fire at Seattle's Northwest Folklife Festival, wounding three people, had obtained a concealed-weapon permit...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The man accused of opening fire at Seattle's Northwest Folklife Festival, wounding three people, had obtained a concealed-weapon permit from the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office even though federal and state laws should have prevented him from having one.
Clinton Chad Grainger, 22, has been on a methadone program for drug addiction since he was 18 and also has a "history of anxiety and mental illness," according to King County Superior Court booking documents. Federal and state law prohibits people with mental illness or drug addiction from obtaining a concealed-weapon permit.
Grainger, who lives in Snohomish with his father, went to the Sheriff's Office and completed a state concealed-pistol license application, said sheriff's spokesman Capt. Kevin Prentiss. The permit asks applicants whether they have spent 14 days or longer in a mental-health facility and requires them to sign a waiver allowing police to look at mental-health records.
Grainger was granted his permit in January 2007.
Unless the deputies had been to Grainger's home for a call connected to his mental illness, or there had been a court case where it was a factor, deputies would not find any mention of his mental illness in records, Prentiss said.
The only other way they could know is if Grainger volunteered the information, Prentiss said.
Whether he did is unknown because the applications for the permits are exempt from public disclosure, said the county records clerk.
Prosecutors said that shortly before 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Grainger got into a fight with another man at the annual festival. Grainger reached for a holster on his ankle and the other man tried to stop him when the gun went off, according to Deputy Prosecutor Jamila Taylor.
She said a single bullet was fired and went through the man's nasal passage, then through another man's forearm before becoming lodged in a woman's right thigh.
It is not clear whether Grainger knew the man he fought, who was one of the shooting victims.
The two other victims were not involved in the scuffle.
Police seized a Glock 9-mm handgun and an ankle holster from Grainger, according to a police report.
Prosecutors have until Thursday to charge Grainger, who has been booked on suspicion of three counts of assault.
His bail was set Monday at $350,000.
When someone applies for a concealed-weapon permit, the Sheriff's Office record clerks do background checks against information contained in the crime databanks, Prentiss said.
The reasons for denial include a felony or a variety of domestic-violence convictions, ranging from stalking to coercion and "certain mental-health conditions," according to the application.
While Washington state's gun-permit requirements — considered by many to be among the most lenient in the U.S. — have some vague areas, the federal requirements do not.
Under federal law, Grainger is prohibited from having a concealed-weapon permit because, according to booking documents, he is addicted to narcotics.
Federal law also prohibits anyone who is of "unsound mind" or judged to be mentally defective from obtaining a gun permit.
Kristen Comer, executive director of Washington Ceasefire, a gun-control advocacy group, said the situation underscores problems with Washington state's concealed-weapon law.
"The background checks done in Washington state are very primitive," she said. "We didn't have background checks before 1994."
Right now there are two background checks, Comer said.
The state check is the equivalent of law enforcement asking each other if "John Doe is on your list," Comer said. "And the federal system and the state system don't talk to each other much, as far as mental health goes."
Grainger told the court that he works on and off as a house painter for his father, making about $500 a week.
Grainger's father told the court that his son planned to go to community college and was not a flight risk.
The deputy prosecutor called Grainger — who also has 15 traffic infractions dating back nine years, to when he was 13 — a danger to the community.
Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case
NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
"Iron Man 3" kicks off a summer blockbuster season that will see hundreds of speeding, squealing, exploding, airborne, rolling and smoking vehicles in...
Post a comment