Last Sunday’s mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas is an example of how a workable system can fail due to human error. Kelley had a long history of mental illness and received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force and yet he managed to legally purchase the guns he used in the mass shooting. It turns out that the Air Force was not required to report Kelley to the national database, but had they reported him to federal officials, Kelley would not have been able to legally purchase his guns. No one can say what he would have done had he been denied the right to purchase the guns.
Visiting Sutherland Springs, Vice President Mike Pence met with local authorities, victims and their families. He promised a swift investigation into how the system broke down and promised to fix it.
Vice President Pence pledged Wednesday to residents of Sutherland Springs, Tex., that the Trump administration would “find out why” a gunman was able to buy firearms in advance of his shooting rampage there despite his violent past and would work with Congress “to ensure that this never happens again.”
“Three days ago, evil descended on this small town and on this small church,” Pence said as he stood on the street in front of First Baptist Church, where 26 churchgoers were killed Sunday by Devin P. Kelley, who should have been barred from purchasing firearms because of a domestic violence conviction while serving in the Air Force.
“He lied on his application. He had a history of mental illness, and there were bureaucratic failures,” Pence said, promising an Air Force investigation of the matter would be completed “in days, not weeks.”
Pence said the Pentagon is also reviewing policies on how such convictions get entered into a national database used to screen gun purchasers…
No one can say what Kelley would have done had been denied his attempt to purchase the guns. Many experts and criminals will tell you that if someone is determined to obtain a gun, it’s a lot easier than many people realize. If you have the money, you can illegally buy any gun you want, without filling out any paperwork. Would Kelley have gone this route? We’ll never know.