NASHVILLE — By the time Illinois law enforcement showed up in August 2017 at the Reinking family business, then-28-year-old Travis Reinking had already been arrested outside the White House and previously threatened people with an AR-15 rifle.
The Tazewell County (Ill.) Sheriff's Office went to the crane company owned by Reinking's father to talk with Travis Reinking and take away his guns.
They took the guns from Travis Reinking, but immediately gave them to Reinking's father, according to records.
"(The father) was advised that he needed to keep the weapons secure and away from Travis. (The father) stated he would comply," reads a report from the sheriff's office.
One of those guns was used to kill four people Sunday at a Waffle House outside Nashville in Antioch, Tenn., according to Nashville police and federal officials. Police continue to search Monday for Travis Reinking.
In 2017, the U.S. Secret Service arrested Reinking for being in a "restricted area" near the White House, according to Nashville police. It was after that arrest that his weapons were seized by Illinois law enforcement and his gun owners registration card revoked.
How he managed to reacquire weapons after Illinois law enforcement determined he was not legally allowed to possess any is being investigated.
But a review of Illinois and Tennessee state laws show it's unclear whether Travis Reinking or his father violated any firearms laws before Travis Reinking opened fire early Sunday.
Search for Waffle House shooting suspect continues
"It is somewhat concerning. You balance the rights of people to have their privacy, but on the other hand, there needs to be a coordinated effort — especially in terms of mental health issues — to ensure that weapons do not fall into their hands, at least lawfully," Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said at a Sunday afternoon news conference.
"(The weapons) would not have been lawfully in his hands in Illinois. Now, possessing them in Tennessee, I don't know that he would have violated any Tennessee law."
Until August 2017, Reinking was allowed to own guns in Illinois
To own guns in Illinois, most people need to acquire a firearm owners identification card. This is different from a license to carry a concealed weapon in the state.
There are few barriers to eligibility for an owners card, according to state law.
• Be 21 years old, or have the written consent of a parent who already has an authorization card;
• Have no felony convictions;
• Not be addicted to narcotics;
• Not have been a patient in a mental health facility within the past five years;
• Not have any orders of protection filed against them.
Records indicate Travis Reinking had a valid firearm owners identification card as of August 2017, which would have expired in 2020. When law enforcement came to his father's business, they had a revocation order from the Illinois state police, records show.
Travis Reinking gave the sheriff's deputies his owner's card and helped collect his weapons and ammunition.
A state police firearm disposition record shows Travis Reinking surrendered four weapons: the AR-15, a 9mm handgun and two hunting rifles.
While the form states the weapons were being revoked, it also includes a listing for the name and address of a person to whom the firearms will be transferred.
Reinking's father, who has a valid owner's card, is listed as the person who received the weapons.
Law enforcement officials believe Reinking's father returned the weapons to Reinking. Tazewell County Sheriff Robert M. Huston said Sunday his office has no information as to when Reinking obtained his weapons after August 2017.
Under Illinois law, no one may give away a weapon to anyone who does not have a valid owner's card. However, there's an exemption if the transfer is a "bona fide gift" to a relative, according to state law.
It's also unclear whether any Tennessee law prevents someone who is not allowed to possess guns in another state from owning guns in the Volunteer State.
Representatives from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee attorney general did not immediately answer questions about the legality of Reinking having guns in Tennessee.
Follow Dave Boucher on Twitter: @Dave_Boucher1