The U.S. Air Force failed to report Texas church shooter Devin Kelley’s misdemeanor domestic violence charge to the FBI allowing him legally purchase firearms.
The U.S. Armed Forces are required to report dishonorable discharges and misdemeanor assault charges to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, that in turn would alert a firearms seller to deny purchase to any such offender.
Kelley was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence against his then-wife and stepson in 2012, earning him a year in military prison and a bad conduct discharge. He reportedly beat his wife during the incident and badly fractured his stepson’s skull. These charges should have denied him legal access to firearms.
“Initial information indicates that Kelley’s domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database by the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations,” Air Force Spokesman Ann Stefanek noted in a Monday evening statement, adding: “The Service will also conduct a comprehensive review of Air Force databases to ensure records in other cases have been reported correctly. The Air Force has also requested that the Department of Defense Inspector General review records and procedures across the Department of Defense.”
Kelley purchased four weapons after his conviction and sentence, two in Colorado and two in Texas. He was denied a concealed carry license in Texas for unclear reasons. The weapon used in the course of the shooting, which killed 26 parishioners, was reportedly legally purchased from a sporting goods store in Texas in April 2016.
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This post has been updated to include a statement from the U.S. Air Force.