Colby Sue Weathers, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, purchased a handgun with her disability check and fatally shot her father.
Under current laws, it is far too easy to someone with a severe mental illness to purchase a firearm, and allowing these individuals to bring guns home is downright dangerous, fatally dangerous. Such was the case with 38 year old Colby Sue Weathers. Weathers, a resident of Missouri, had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was put on disability due to her illness. When she received a disability check in the mail, she decided to purchase a handgun. Odessa Gun & Pawn Shop sold her the weapon after performing a routine background check. She was free and clear, according to the check, to own a weapon, and there was no way the shop would have known about Colby Sue’s illness if not for her parents’ pleas.
Colby’s father confiscated his daughter’s initial purchase, and her mother, Janet, went into a panic. Colby had another disability check coming, and she just knew her daughter would attempt to make another purchase. So, she first called the police, then ATF, then the FBI, desperately hoping law enforcement would prevent her from following through.
Unfortunately, there was nothing authorities could do, since Colby Sue was still able to pass a background check. So, Janet called the store and spoke with its manager, pleading for him not to sell a gun to her daughter should she return. She explained that her daughter had been in and out of mental institutions and had tried to kill herself. She was worried Colby Sue might put herself or her family in danger should see be allowed to make the purchase.
And yet, as soon as the check arrived, Colby Sue drove straight back to the shop and nervously asked the manager for a gun similar to the Hi-Point pistol she bought the previous month in 2012. However, since the woman had never been deemed a threat by a judge or required to stay for an extended period of time in the hospital, she could still pass a background check and there is nothing in the law to say that the shop can’t fulfill her request.
And, so, the check came as scheduled and sure enough, Colby Sue returned to the Odessa store asking to make a purchase similar to Hi-Point pistol she bought the previous month in 2012. And, the salesman complied, although the manager, Derrick Dady, would later recall to law enforcement that the woman appeared nervous. She was sold another Hi-Point, along with one box of ammunition.
An hour later, Weathers would return home and fatally shoot her father, Tex. She had planned to take her own life, too, but instead placed a call to 911, telling the operator, “I can’t shoot myself. I was going to after I did it, but I couldn’t bring myself to it.” Weathers was arrested and charged with murder.
Janet and Tex had been high school sweethearts, married for 40 years. Janet lost her entire family in the blink of an eye despite having done everything in her power to prevent the situation. She was devastated and furious. For a mere $60 profit, the Odessa shop had made a fateful, life-changing decision.
Delana filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the store, which argued it had done nothing wrong, but eventually agreed to settle the case for $2.2 million. Janet said she isn’t trying to take guns away from everyone, just those who are too ill to make responsible decisions on their own. Tex wouldn’t have been fatally shot had the store manager just listened. “I will do whatever I can. I’m working for justice for Tex. I’m not sitting around brooding.”