The Texas church shooter appears to have purchased four guns over the last four years. This is despite numerous reports that he had been kicked out of the Air Force after being court-martialed for domestic violence. That’s according to the latest press conference from officials on the ground in Sutherland Springs.
Officials state he purchased four guns, one per year. Two came from Texas and two from Colorado where he lived prior to moving back to Texas. In at least one of those cases, we know that he purchased it from a licensed dealer. That means he had to undergo a background check for that purchase, which he apparently passed.
However, what he didn’t manage to do was get a Texas concealed handgun license.
In April 2016, [the shooter] purchased the Ruger AR-556 rifle he allegedly used in the shooting from a store in San Antonio, Texas, a law enforcement official said. There was no disqualifying information in the background check conducted as required for the purchase, a law enforcement official told CNN.
At one point, the shooter tried to get a license to carry a gun in Texas but was denied by the state, Abbott said, citing the director of Texas’ Department of Public Safety.
“So how was it that he was able to get a gun? By all the facts that we seem to know, he was not supposed to have access to a gun,” Abbott said. “So how did this happen?”
This raises questions. In particular, what did the state of Texas find that didn’t show up in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)?
For what it’s worth, it sounds like the shooter’s court-martial conviction didn’t get added to the database used by the NICS.
Because of that oversight, the shooter was able to enter a church and kill 26 people and injured 24 others in what officials are now saying had to do with the killer’s domestic situation. In particular, his mother-in-law was a member of that church, as well as possibly his estranged wife. They may well have been the targets, though she was not in attendance.
In the coming days, gun control advocates will be calling for new laws, but let’s also keep in mind that the laws were already in place to prevent this man from being armed. He was convicted by a court–military, but a court none the less–for domestic violence. As per the Lautenberg Amendment, that disqualifies you from being able to own a firearm.
In other words, the law is in place. What we need to do is figure out how this maniac fell through the cracks in this system, then we need to shore up the system.
He should never have been allowed to buy those guns under current law. No way on Earth.
Yet, none the less, he did. He bought guns in violation of the laws on the books that would have prevented this crime. Not only did he buy guns he had to know was illegal for him to buy, but he also passed background checks he had no business passing.
If you want to “do something,” then start with that.