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Ducey's school safety plan wouldn't stop man who threatened him from buying another gun

The threat against Gov. Doug Ducey was made 2 1/2 years ago. The suspect posted an image on Facebook holding an AR-15. He messaged a friend, "If Doug Ducey does not step down he is the first to die."

A man with a long history of mental illness brandished an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle on his Facebook page.

"If Doug Ducey does not step down, he is the first to die," the Phoenix man said in a message to a friend.

The threat against Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was made 2 1/2 years ago, according to police reports provided to 12 News. It has never been disclosed.

The man also threatened then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the Phoenix police Homeland Security Unit and the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center were all alerted.

The man was swiftly arrested and his gun was taken away.

But the governor's new school-safety plan, announced last week, wouldn't make it more difficult for a man who threatened Ducey's life or anyone else's to buy another gun.

The Ducey suspect had his right to buy a gun revoked. According to police reports, he got his AR-15 through a private sale, which doesn't require a background check on the purchaser.

Last year, Ducey signed a law banning background checks on private sales in Arizona, leaving open the so-called gun show loophole.

READ: Arizona school safety plan adds psychologists, volunteers but doesn't address gun purchases

“It's a gaping loophole that really undermines the effectiveness of our gun laws,” said David Chipman, a special agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for 25 years. He is a senior policy adviser with the Giffords gun-safety organization.

Chipman says web sites can market thousands of guns — including assault weapons — for private sales with no “government intervention, no record keeping and certainly no background check required.”

"I went on there and easily I was able to look at 1,000 guns, from AK-47s to handguns," he said.

When I asked Ducey about the threat in 2015, he said he wasn't aware of it.

"I hear of threats. I don't hear the details of the threats," Ducey said.

“What you're telling me ... is news to me, I'm not aware of that threat and the specifics around it. So I'm not going to comment on it."

12 News is not naming the man who threatened Ducey because we have found no evidence that he was ever charged.

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