HIGH POINT, N.C. — FOX8 is working to learn how 19-year-old Paul Steber got a shotgun, a 9mm pistol and ammunition.
Prosecutors say he purchased the guns over the weekend.
A pawnshop owner tells FOX8 buying guns in the state takes time and there is an extensive process.
“I have no idea how he could have gotten them. But he did not buy them from a legitimate business,” said Robert Greene, the owner of Coins and Stuff.
Across the street from High Point University, the sign outside of Greene’s pawnshop reads “guns, guns, guns.”
But he doesn’t sell them to just anyone.
“The only way I can sell you a handgun is to be in North Carolina. To live in North Carolina,” Greene said. “[For] a shotgun or a rifle, your state has to touch our state. So Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee are the only people who can buy a long gun in North Carolina.”
There’s also a background check, a mental health screening and other rules in place.
“You have to get a permit. Which you can’t get at 19 unless you go through the Sheriff’s Department, get a permit and have your parents gift it to you. They have to come and buy the gun,” Greene said.
FOX8 showed Greene pictures of the weapons High Point Police say Steber had in his dorm room.
He saw some instant red flags.
“The shotgun was cut off, which means it was under 18 inches. A 12 gauge shotgun or any shotgun under 18 inches is illegal,” Greene said. “So he did not buy from a legitimate business.”
Greene says the guns are not for mass shootings. They are collectors items.
“An old, old 9mm pistol, which is an antique. The shotgun is even older than that,” Greene said. “It’s a 12 gauge, black powdered shotgun that he probably couldn’t even find the equipment to load it with. [It’s] probably from the late 1800s.”
Greene showed FOX8 what it takes to load the shotgun, and it takes some time, making it even more difficult for Steber to carry out his alleged plot to shoot up High Point University.
“From what I understand he had planned, neither of them would have been any good,” Greene said.
High Point police are not providing any details on how the guns were purchased.
FOX8 tried several times to reach Steber’s attorney, but as of air time, have not yet heard back.