WASHINGTON — The US Air Force is investigating its failure to enter the Texas church shooter’s domestic violence conviction — which legally barred him from buying or owning guns — into a national criminal database, it said Monday.
This means information that would have prevented firearms purchases by Devin Kelley, who shot dead 26 people at a Texas church, was not entered into a database used to run background checks on would-be gun buyers.
“Initial information indicates that Kelley’s domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database by the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations,” the Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said in a statement.
Kelley was convicted by a court-martial of “two charges of domestic assault against his wife and step-son,” which meant that under federal law, he was “prohibited him from buying or possessing firearms after this conviction,” Stefanek said.
In addition to investigating the Kelley case, the Air Force is carrying out a “comprehensive review” to make sure that records from other cases have been correctly reported, she said.
Licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks on people seeking to purchase guns, but private sellers are not — a major loophole in current regulations.
Kelley was armed with a Ruger assault rifle, a .22 pistol from the same company and a Glock 9mm when he carried out the attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, which also wounded 20 people.
A family dispute may have sparked the rampage by Kelley, who died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound following the shooting, officials said.