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Two additional families who lost loved ones in the Sutherland Springs massacre last year are suing the U.S. Air Force for negligence, doubling the number of legal challenges the government is facing over the mass shooting.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told a panel of U.S. senators on Dec. 6 that the service has implemented a series of changes in its reporting practices following a deadly shooting in Texas.
An Air Force review has found that the branch failed to report “several dozen” service members found guilty of violent offenses to the federal gun background check database, with representatives of the service telling the New York Times that the reporting failure that allowed disgraced airman Devin Patrick Kelley to purchase the firearms he used to murder 26 parishioners in a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church on Nov. 5 “was not an isolated incident.”
The Army has failed in a “significant amount” of cases to report soldiers’ criminal records to the FBI for entry into the federal database for firearms-related background checks, the service’s top general announced on Nov 15, signaling that the problem extends well beyond the case of Air Force veteran Devin P. Kelley, the former airman with a history of criminal behavior who massacred 26 people at a Texas church on Nov. 5.
How did a disgraced airman, convicted by court-martial of assaulting his wife and child, get access to the weapons he used Nov. 5 to commit the deadliest mass shooting in an American house of worship? The short answer seems to be: not legally. But the case of Devin Patrick Kelley, who murdered 26 parishioners before dying of a gunshot in his flipped car, illuminates a confusing tangle of federal regulations that are supposed to keep guns out of domestic abusers’ hands.