NewsNation | February 22, 2013
>>> gun crimes taken on a higher profile since the shootings in newtown, connecticut, which reignited the heated debate. as michael isikoff reports, law enforcement officials say serious gaps in the country's gun laus make it hard for them to do their jobs.
>> reporter: fbi agents seize add video of the neo-nazi conventi convention.
>> reporter: while investigating the owner of an ohio sports goods show. there was an arsenal and what authorities say was a possible racist threat.
>> the fbi averted a catastrophe in this case.
>> reporter: the store owner, a convicted felon , charged with stockpiling 18 firearms illegally, including assault weapons , shotguns, high capacity magazines and more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition.
>> they were all over the place. one in the coat pocket.
>> reporter: he served 13 years for homicide in an ohio state prison. under federal law , he was barred from owning any firearms. nbc news has learned that the fbi was also concerned that he may have been drawing up a hit list after notebooks showing the names and addresses of jewish and african-american leaders in detroit. agents briefed wendell anthony about the potential threat.
>> appears to me like he is a one-man army. very alarming and disturbing and kind of made me angry.
>> reporter: the fbi also warned scott kaufman, a jewish community leaders.
>> names of tenants in our building, names of some of the people in leadership positions in the organization including mines.
>> reporter: prosecutors are determined to find out where and how he got the guns and proving a difficult task because of what they say are giant loopholes in the nation's gun laws . one big issue, congress's prohibited a national computerized database of gun sales so agents at tracing center in west virginia forced to use technology of 1940s pouring through boxes, waterlogged sales records and even microfiche. they believe he acquired the guns from private sellers or gun shows and background checks are not required.
>> there's no documentation required for private transactions so whatever occurs in that zone is invisible to us.
>> reporter: estimated 80% of those convicted of gun crimes get the weapons through private sales and more evidence of what prosecutors are say are alarming gaps in the nation's gun laws . nbc news, bowling green , ohio.