Secretary of Defense James Mattis is requesting the Department of Defense Inspector General review a procedural reporting error which allowed Texas mass killer Devin Kelley to legally purchase a firearm, a Monday memo released by the Pentagon reveals.
— Tara Copp (@TaraCopp) November 8, 2017
The memo broadens the purview of the inquiry to the entire Pentagon’s reporting procedures to the FBI for entry into a background check database used by firearms sellers. The procedures have come under intense scrutiny after the Air Force admitted culpability Monday in failing to report Kelley’s military conviction for domestic assault to the FBI.
Kelly was convicted of domestic violence by the Air Force in 2012 after he badly beat his wife and fractured his stepson’s skull. He served a year in military prison before receiving a bad conduct discharge from the service. U.S. law dictates that any conviction of domestic violence or dishonorable discharge within the U.S. military must be reported to the FBI NICS system to prevent future firearms purchases.
The Air Force’s error allowed Kelley purchase firearms four times after his release and bad conduct discharge from the military, including the weapon he used to kill 26 people in cold blood. Mattis’s widened investigation and a Daily Caller News Foundation review indicate the error could be far more widespread than one-off.
The FBI’s NICS system only has a single record from the Department of Defense on a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. The errors and lapses may even go back decades. The AP discovered a 1997 report that detailed massive fingerprint reporting lapses of military criminals with the U.S. Navy and the Navy failed to report 94 percent of cases. “The lack of reporting to the FBI criminal history files prevents civilian law enforcement agencies from having significant information on military offenders,” the report warned 20 years ago.