Gualtieri is chair of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which meets once a month for three days.
Florida's gun and mental health laws likely could not have prevented school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz from buying past year the semi-automatic rifle authorities say he used to kill 17 people even if they had applied to him, the state commission investigating the shooting learned Thursday.
That's the position of Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chair of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission that is investigating the shooting that left 17 dead.
Other witnesses told investigators they saw Cruz practicing shooting in his backyard, that he had frequently harmed animals and was obsessed with weapons and killing.
Gualtieri said after Cruz turned 18 in September 2016, he needed a state identification card to buy a gun. He noted Lynda Cruz would often interfere, but didn't elaborate.
A commission, who is investigating the murders, learned that Cruz's late mother allowed him to buy a gun, even though his mental health counselor opposed the idea. He did not go into specifics. Similar complaints were made about the mother of Adam Lanza, who killed 26 at a CT elementary school in 2012 after killing her. Nancy Lanza bought guns for her 20-year-old son despite his severe emotional issues.
The commission, which includes law enforcement, educators, a legislator, parents of slain students and others, is in the middle of a three-day monthly meeting as it examines the massacre's causes. His father died when he was young.
Mental health counselors had contact with Nikolas Cruz at least 140 times in the years before the shooting, The Associated Press said. In February 2014, while in eighth grade, Cruz was transferred to a school for children with emotional and behavioral issues. Gualtieri said Cruz was assigned to report to Pine Ridge Education Center on November 26, just before the Thanksgiving holiday.
The commission investigating the Florida high school massacre agreed that a diversion program for students who commit minor on-campus crimes played no part in the February shooting.
Promise has been criticized for leniency, particularly by conservatives, and questions have been raised whether Cruz completed the program.
He added, "Its completely irrelevant, its a rabbit hole, its a red herring, its immaterial, and thats why were taking it off the table".
Gualtieri said the Promise program was not to blame for the school shooting, according to the Miami Herald. "It would never in any way, shape, form, would've affected his ability to buy that AR-15, to buy the shotguns, to buy anything else, to possess them", he said.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commissions discussion of the program known as PROMISE carried over from the commissions last meeting in June. They are assessed, given a course of treatment, attend classes and receive counseling. Records show nearly 90 percent of Promise participants never reoffend, Gualtieri said.
Records are inconclusive on whether Cruz attended Promise or skipped the assignment. Some have said that if Cruz had been charged criminally, he wouldn't have been able to buy the semi-automatic rifle used in the massacre, although Gualtieri said that is wrong.
Commission members did make several recommendations for improving Promise, including combining school and criminal records so officials can get a full picture of a juvenile's behavior. His mother called deputies about 20 times, including accusations of battery on her, but he was never arrested. The commission will later discuss how those incidents were handled.