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Air Force admits dozens of reporting failures like Texas church shooter

Devin Patrick Kelley (Texas Department of Public Safety/Released)
November 29, 2017

The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday said there are dozens of cases where the Air Force has failed to report cases similar to that of Devin Kelley, the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooter who killed 26 people after purchasing a gun despite having a court-martial conviction for domestic assault.

Earlier this month, the Air Force said officials at Holloman Air Force Base failed to report the conviction to the federal background database, or National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Air Force began reviewing Kelley’s case and and other similar reporting failures dating back to 2002.

The Air Force said in a statement Tuesday that “the Kelley case was not an isolated incident and similar reporting lapses occurred at other locations.”

U.S. Air Force (Twitter)

“Although policies and procedures requiring reporting were in place, training and compliance measures were lacking,” the Air Force said.

“The Air Force OSI (Office of Special Investigations) has already implemented corrective measures to ensure compliance with reporting requirements to civilian law enforcement,” according to the statement. “In addition, Air Force Security Forces have also implemented several corrective measures and remaining actions will be completed in the next few weeks.”

Two task forces comprised of 30 members are “working to ensure 100-percent compliance,” according to the statement.

The number of reporting failures could grow in the upcoming months as the teams review 60,000 cases.

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, citing the Kelley case, called for a review of the background check database by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

“The National Instant Criminal Background Check System [NICS] is critical for us to be able to keep guns out of the hands of those that are prohibited from owning them,” he said, reported.

The database “is critically important to protecting the American public from firearms-related violence,” Sessions said, The Washington Post reported. “It is, however, only as reliable and robust as the information that federal, state, local and tribal government entities make available to it.”

In 2012, Kelley was convicted for assaulting his wife and stepson while serving in the U.S. Air Force.

As his case was not reported by the Air Force to NICS, Kelley had been able to purchase a firearm, and later killed 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Nov. 5.