The U.S. Air Force is reviewing records that date back to 1996 in a bid to ensure that all crimes which would disqualify a convict from buying a firearm have been properly reported to the FBI’s national background check system, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Pentagon reporters Thursday.
Air Force reporting procedures to the FBI have come under intense scrutiny following a reporting lapse that allowed Texas church shooter Devin Kelley to repeatedly purchase firearms, despite a conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence. U.S. law dictates that the Air Force and other service branches are required to report such convictions to the FBI database.
Kelley murdered 26 parishioners in cold blood with a firearm that he purchased in April 2016, despite his 2012 conviction by the Air Force for beating his wife and fracturing his stepson’s skull. Wilson noted that a separate investigation into the specific lapse in Kelley’s report falling through the cracks is underway, with “nearly 100” people already interviewed.
The Air Force said after the attack that “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.”
Wilson noted that Air Force personnel are working “24/7,” going through an electronic database that goes back to 2002. After that review has been completed, Air Force personnel will begin going through paper records dating back to 1996, when U.S. law first barred any person convicted of domestic violence from purchasing a firearm.
A previous Daily Caller News Foundation review of FBI records indicates that only a single active record of misdemeanor domestic violence reported by the Pentagon exists.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis similarly launched a Pentagon-wide review of reporting procedures Wednesday.
The AP discovered a 1997 report that detailed massive fingerprint reporting lapses of military criminals with the U.S. Navy and the Navy failed to report 94 percent of cases. “The lack of reporting to the FBI criminal history files prevents civilian law enforcement agencies from having significant information on military offenders,” the report warned 20 years ago.
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