Another case of a monster slipping through the cracks, only to go on to commit a heinous act that would be blamed on law-abiding gun owners.
Devin Kelley, the man who opened fire on a service at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in November of 2017, killing 26 including an unborn baby, had previously threatened mass violence previously.
The U.S. Air Force, however, had failed to report him and over 7,000 other airmen with criminal histories to a federal database used to vet gun buyers, enabling him to purchase a firearm when he would have otherwise been restricted from doing so.
This information comes as part of a lawsuit from over three dozen families against the U.S. government for the alleged negligence which led to this shooting, American Military News reports.
Attorneys for the families argued in a court filing this month that the evidence is so overwhelming a federal judge should find the government negligent as a matter of law, leaving only the damages portion of the case to be tried.
A spokesperson said the Air Force does not comment on ongoing litigation. The government has sought to dismiss the claims.
Jamal Alsaffar, an attorney for several of the families, declined to comment.
The lawsuit accuses the Air Force and Department of Defense of negligence in failing to report Kelley’s criminal history and fingerprints to an FBI database used to approve gun buyers.
The suit was filed by several families who lost loved ones or were wounded in the 2017 attack, when Kelley entered the church and killed 26 parishioners, including a pregnant woman, during Sunday services. The families claim the government’s admitted failures entitle them to damages for wrongful death, pain and suffering, mental anguish, mental health care expenses, past and future lost income and earning capacity, and funeral costs. No dollar figure is named in the lawsuit.
Kelley was discharged from the Air Force for bad conduct in 2014 after being convicted of beating his first wife and assaulting his stepson. Two years prior, he had escaped a mental health facility where he was admitted after threatening to kill his superiors.
This man is exactly the kind of individual who has surrendered his own right to own a firearm by violating the rights of others. At the time of the shooting he would ultimately commit, the vulturous mainstream media that descended on the small, tight-knit Texas community declared that clearly this was the fault of those who defend the Second Amendment.
It didn’t take long, however, for it to come forward that the Air Force had not reported Kelley’s domestic abuse conviction, enabling him to pass background checks to purchase the weapon he would go on to commit his horrific act.
Meanwhile, it was an NRA member who took down this maniac, who never should have been allowed to purchase a firearm.
American Military News also notes that the court filings reveal that Air Force officials had been aware of Kelley’s capacity for mass violence. A colonel testified that, by the end of March 2013, Air Force command knew that he “was a very dangerous person who was threatening to kill multiple people with guns.”
It’s not banning “assault rifles” that would have kept those churchgoers in Sutherland Springs safe. It was an “assault rifle” that ended his murderous rampage. It’s letting criminals slip through the cracks that puts American lives at risk each and every day.
This is the result of the federal government still operating in silos where one agency doesn’t talk to another. This was all supposed to have been rectified after 9-11 with the Patriot Act that created a system of sharing information to prevent people from falling through the cracks. It is what led to the shooter in a South Carolina church being able to purchase a handgun that killed churchgoers. The FBI background check missed Dylann Roof. It would have stopped his purchase of a firearm. All then FBI Director James Comey said at the time was that he was sorry. Yeah, so are we. We’re sorry that no government official was held accountable.
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