The Pentagon has known for nearly 20 years about major reporting lapses to the FBI of criminals within the U.S. military, The Associated Press reports.
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.
Military criminal reporting to the FBI has come under renewed scrutiny after former U.S. Air Force enlisted criminal Devin Kelley killed 26 people in a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church Sunday. Kelley, 26, was convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault under court martial in 2012, under U.S. law this should have barred him from ever purchasing a firearm.
The U.S. Air Force, however, admitted error in failing to report Kelley’s conviction to the FBI’s background check system that allowed him to legally purchase firearms on four different occasions, including the murder weapon. “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.
The problem may be just as widespread today as it was in 1997. The U.S. military has reported only one misdemeanor domestic violence case to the FBI’s background check system widely used by sellers of firearms, a previous Daily Caller News Foundation review revealed. The absolute vast majority of cases reported to the system by the U.S. military have been dishonorable discharges, numbering approximately 11,000 as of Dec. 31, 2016.
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