Outrage: Agencies could have flagged church shooter
For any caring human being, the heartbreak of what happened Nov. 5 in tiny Sutherland Springs, Texas, is agonizing. Twenty-six people in a small church, including some children, were shot to death.
Add to that emotion outrage over reports regarding the murderer, Devin Patrick Kelley. His violent, menacing past might have prevented the massacre — had the right people been alerted.
We know now that Kelley was involved in at least three situations, including crimes and involuntary commitment to a mental institution, that under existing law should have disqualified him from buying firearms. Yet he purchased at least three he used in his rampage.
People purchasing firearms from a store are required to submit to background checks. If their names show up on an FBI database as disqualified from owning guns, they are turned away.
Kelley’s name did not show up.
The Air Force, which locked Kelley up for a year for assaulting his wife and child, is one culprit. So are local authorities in Texas and New Mexico, who failed to notify the FBI of Kelley’s run-ins with the law.
There were three opportunities to have submitted Kelley’s name to the FBI database. It didn’t happen, and those who failed to help prevent this tragedy bear some responsibility.
How many other people have also been left off a database meant to keep the rest of us safer?
This has to change.