Here's Why The Sutherland Springs Shooter Could Buy A Gun

Posted: Nov 06, 2017 6:08 PM

Matt wrote earlier questioning why Devin Kelley, the shooter in yesterday's attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was able to buy a firearm despite a domestic violence conviction that barred him from owning a gun. Now we know: the Air Force never actually entered the crime into the National Criminal Information Center database. 

This fact was initially revealed in a draft statement that was inadvertently released to reporters. The Air Force admitted that after an investigation, it was discovered that the conviction was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center as it should have been. 

This enabled Kelley to pass a background check and purchase an AR-15, which he used to kill 26 people at the church. Kelley had spent a year in jail for domestic violence and had been court-martialed. 

This is astounding. What's the use of having a federal database of this kind of violent offenders if the crimes are never actually entered? Further, how many other people who have been convicted of a crime that would disqualify them from firearm ownership have not been entered into the correct database? 

A similar oversight happened in 2015 when Dylann Roof (who killed nine people at a church in South Carolina) was able to purchase a gun despite admitting to a drug charge that should have come up in a background check. Over 30 people were killed and dozens more were wounded by two men who should have never had access to guns to begin with. This type of negligence is unacceptable. 

The system is only as good as the data that is put in it, and two high-profile failures is cause for concern.