Enforcement: Air Force inaction aided Texas shooter

In 2012, an Air Force court martial found Devin Patrick Kelley guilty of assaulting his wife and child. He served a year of confinement before receiving a bad conduct discharge.

That should have disqualified him from purchasing firearms. Yet he was able to do so. He used them to massacre 26 people at a church in Texas on Sunday.

The armed forces are supposed to share information about crimes such as domestic violence with the FBI. That agency enters the information into the database used to do background checks on those who want to purchase guns. Had those checks divulged Kelley’s assault, he would not have been permitted to buy the firearms he used to kill so many.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday the Pentagon will be looking into what went wrong. Of course, they must; but it seems obvious that what went wrong was someone did not do their job — someone did not follow the law.

Mass murder such as that at the Texas church usually results in calls for more laws restricting gun ownership. But new restrictions will do no good if they are not enforced better than the ones we have on the books now. We already know those who intend to do harm or commit some other crime will find a way. They do not check first to see if what they are planning is legal.

But at the very least, those charged with enforcing those laws — or following them to prevent such crimes to whatever degree possible — must be held accountable if THEIR inaction made commission of such a horrific act easier for a madman like Kelley.

COMMENTS