Three Democratic U.S. Cities Sue Pentagon Over Devin Kelley Texas Shootings Lombardi Letter 2018-02-16 07:38:28 Devin Kelley texas shooting pentagon Devin Kelley shootings The leaders of three major U.S. cities with to take the Pentagon to court for not reporting information that could've prevented the Devin Kelley shootings. News

Three Democratic U.S. Cities Sue Pentagon Over Devin Kelley Texas Shootings

- By Benjamin A. Smith |
Devin Kelley

Pentagon Being Sued for Negligence Over the Devin Kelley Affair

In a bold move directed at the highest levels of government, three Democrat-led U.S. cities are suing the Pentagon over failing to report military personnel convictions that would have disqualified Devin Kelley from gun ownership. If the name sounds familiar, it shouldn’t be surprising: Kelley received widespread infamy by committing a heinous shooting in Sutherland, Texas last month which killed 26 and maimed 20 more. That wound is still fresh in many people’s minds.
On Tuesday, the mayors of New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco decided to take gun control into their own hands. They collectively filed a federal lawsuit in Alexandria, Virginia on Tuesday, demanding that the Department of Defense address a “clearly broken system” that allowed Devin Kelley to buy guns that he otherwise should have never owned. (Source: “Cities sue Pentagon over failure to report crimes to FBI gun database, citing Texas church shooting,” RT, December 27, 2017.)
The backbone of the lawsuit revolves around Kelley’s ability to obtain firearms legally. That privilege should have been revoked upon his discharge from the U.S. Air Force after serving time for domestic violence. Such an offense should have automatically disqualified him from obtaining a gun permit under federal law. However, his conviction was never reported to the FBI, and thus was never recorded in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Somewhere along the line, intergovernmental communication seems to have failed.
Perhaps more troubling is the fact that Kelley’s case is not an isolated incident. The Pentagon’s inspector general reported earlier this month that the Air Force did not submit the relevant records in 14% of cases. That was actually stellar compared to the rest of the armed forces; the Navy and the Marine Corps failed to report in a stunning 36% of the cases, while the Army failed 41% of the time. (Source: “Evaluation of Fingerprint Card and Final Disposition Report Submissions by Military Service Law Enforcement Organizations,” U.S. Department of Defense, last accessed December 27, 2017.)
Speaking on behalf of the plaintiffs, New York Mayor Bill Di Blasio said, “This failure on behalf of the Department of Defense has led to the loss of innocent lives by putting guns in the hands of criminals and those who wish to cause immeasurable harm… comply with the law and repair their drastically flawed system“. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney spouted similar platitudes, saying that “The background check system only works if it contains the proper records.” (Source: RT, December 27, 2017, op cit.)
To its credit, the military is making an effort to streamline reporting. It says it has already taking steps to address the issue. Following the early November shooting, the Air Force began reviewing some 60,000 criminal cases dating back to 2002 to ensure they are properly reported to the NICS. The other military disciplines are either following suit or plan to review reporting protocols.
Whether the Democrats are genuinely concerned about illegal gun ownership or are simply playing gun control politics remains to be seen. But both left and right can agree that it’s in nobody’s interest to have disqualified persons own guns due to intergovernmental mishaps. In that scenario, there are no winners.

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