By Hannah Stafford, News Editor
In the wake of multiple mass shootings, the Department of Justice has opened a review to locate issues within the current federal gun background check system. Gaps within the system were recently brought to light when a dishonorably discharged airman in the Air Force, Devin Patrick Kelley, opened fire on a small Texas church, killing 26 people during their Sunday morning worship. Federal law specifies various peoples as ineligible to own guns, and includes felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens and dishonorably discharged military. The illegal possession of a firearm is punishable up to 10 years in prison.
“The NICS is critical for us to be able to keep guns out of the hands of those that are prohibited from owning them,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “The recent shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, revealed that relevant information may not be getting reported to the NICS — this is alarming and it is unacceptable.”
According to the Washington Times, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) includes more than 17 million active records that could disqualify someone from purchasing a firearm; however, Kelley’s court-martial was not included in those records because the Air Force failed to report it, letting him pass a background check when he purchased two guns last year.
According to FOX News, despite obtaining a firearm through the federal screening process, Kelley was denied a carrying permit in the state of Texas.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated, “He was rejected either because he did not fully answer all the questions that are required to get a Texas gun permit, or he answered those questions wrong, that we still don’t know.”
Kelley had faced charges of assault, bad conduct in the military and animal cruelty within the past seven years, but never served time for these offenses; he was confined for 12 months following his discharge from the military only. He was found deceased in his car shortly after the attack on First Baptist Church by what is assumed to be a self-inflicted wound.