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Air Forced Failed to Report Killer to FBI

After discovering the Sutherland Spring mass killer’s conviction involved cracking his infant step son’s skull, definitely a prohibiting offense, I was wondering how this guy managed to legally buy a gun not once, but four times. Now it would seem we have our answer. You remember President Obama’s executive order after Sandy Hook that instructed all federal agencies to review what they can do to prevent gun violence? You remember the VA coming forward and reporting veterans en masse if they had a fiduciary guardian? I do. Do you remember the SSA almost doing the same thing until Congress put a stop to it after the change in Administration? I do. Yet reporting people who commit what is effectively felony battery to NICS is apparently something they can’t be bothered with.

24 Responses to “Air Forced Failed to Report Killer to FBI”

  1. TS says:

    The plan has always been to prohibit the most amount of people- not necessarily the worst of people.

  2. RAH says:

    NRA has pushing the line The best way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good guy with a gun. They have been proven right again. They said that after Sandy Hook and lo and behold schools across the country have been getting training for conceal carry by teachers.
    Sebastian best line on the earlier post was not to mess with rural Texans. They hunt you down.

  3. Ian Argent says:

    I’m going to wait a bit and see what comes of the USAF’s internal investigation. Did the paperwork fall off someone’s desk, or was it pushed? Did the plea bargain include something where he was not supposed to be felonized? (A BCD and a year in prison for a guilty plea to using force likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm seems a little underwhelming to me – see https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/national/read-devin-p-kelleys-assault-and-domestic-violence-court-documents/2617/)

    The USAF prosecution may simply not have known he would be prohibited under Lautenberg and potential length of sentence, regardless of not giving him over a year and a DD. Or they just didn’t care, one or the other. It’s not their area of expertise.

    • ParatrooperJJ says:

      Yes, it was a plea bargain.

    • harp1034 says:

      I was thinking plea bargain. One year for hurting a baby like that? I don’t see a DA going for that. In Texas he would be charged with injury to child. You can get life for that. This murderer got a sweet heart deal from the Air Force. He must have given some people up on something.

    • Jeremiah Weed says:

      Having sat on several AF court-martial juries, don’t overestimate the abilities of the prosecution. I’ve seen them not bring witnesses or evidence to a trial. They didn’t submit so much as a police report. Then they wondered why we let the accused walk.

  4. bor says:

    Seriously, would it have made a difference? It would have been trivially easy for him to buy a rifle in a private purchase anyway. It is not like he would have told the seller he was a prohibited person.

    • Sebastian says:

      I’m not convinced it would have. But you’d think with all the hubbub about private sales one of these nuts would have tried it by now. We haven’t seen it, knock on wood. We’ve seen them use straw buyers, but not a private sale.

      But most of them pass background checks. In aggregate, I don’t think background checks accomplish much of anything in terms of saving lives. But it probably stops a person here or there at the margins, if they are not sufficiently determined, or maybe aren’t with it enough to get around it.

      • Ian Argent says:

        I consider NICS to be a worthwhile sop to public opinion, at least at the current time limits. It’s better than nothing (barely) at preventing sales to unlawful persons, and better than the historical (and current, in, say, NJ or possibly even PA, from what I’ve heard of PICS issues) options.

        No BG check isn’t feasible today (and I’m not entirely sure I would really agitate that hard for “No BG check” myself, if it came down to cases).

        • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

          I consider NICS to be a worthwhile sop to public opinion

          Agreed. I’m opposed to BGCs on principle, but there is no way we’ll get support for that. And good gun owners don’t want to sell guns to criminals either. I actually would love the option to run a BGC on a private sale (as I believe Cassidy proposed in 2013). I think that would be the best of all worlds. But the anti-gunners don’t like that, because it doesn’t further their agenda.

    • Bram says:

      I’m not sure if it would have made a difference, but the AF is going to get reamed hard on this one – deservedly so.

      • Ian Argent says:

        Some poor file clerk is about to have a perfectly good career wasted, possibly a couple of JAG prosecutors. Regardless of their actual culpability.

        I’m informed that the big brass hats of 2014 are off enjoying their retirements.

    • Bram says:

      And if he really wanted maximum casualties – some door wedges, a few gallons of gasoline, and a match would probably have killed more.

  5. Thirdpower says:

    Of course the diversion being attempted is that Trump is now allowing people w/ mental disorders to buy guns.

    Of course saying that w/o any evidence and just reading meme’s and anti press releases.

  6. Richard says:

    Now it turns out that he was committed to a mental health facility and escaped. The AF didn’t report that either. So he was a double prohibited person. Stay tuned, he may have been prohibited in more ways. Drugs?

    • Ian Argent says:

      Depends on who put him in – if he voluntarily checked himself in (as, say, part of a plea bargain), I don’t think he would be a prohibited person after he got out. Possibly not even if he was ordered by a superior to check in. It takes a judge, at the federal level, to make a prohibited person out of someone.

  7. The Jack says:

    And there’s this scuttlebutt
    “”JUST IN: Senate Judiciary will have a hearing Nov. 14 on bump stocks and NICS, per committee notice.”
    https://twitter.com/seungminkim/status/928043849561370624

  8. He was convicted in a General Court Martial. There had been some speculation it was a Special Court Martial. The review of the case by the AF Court of Criminal Appeals makes that clear. http://afcca.law.af.mil/content/afcca_opinions/cp/kelley-38267.pc1_-_corrected_copy.pdf

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