WASHINGTON–The man responsible for the Sutherland Springs church shooting should have never been able to legally carry a gun.
That’s according to the Department of Defense which admits it made a mistake. Republicans are now rallying behind new legislation to fix federal background checks.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy says the federal background check system is broken.
“There are thousands and thousands of people in this country who have criminal records, who are seriously mentally ill, who shouldn’t be able to buy guns and whose records are not on that system,” said Murphy(D-Connecticut).
Murphy says that includes the First Baptist Church gunman – Devin Kelley. Republican house speaker Paul Ryan agrees.
“This man should not have gotten a gun, you know why? Because he was a domestic abuser,” said Ryan(R-Wisconson).
The department of defense says Kelley had been court-martialed and convicted of domestic violence. He was discharged for bad conduct. In a statement, the US Air Force says it made a mistake by not alerting the FBI of the 26-year-old gunman’s violent past.
Texas Senator John Cornyn says he’s not sure why the system failed. Federal law already requires the department of defense to report convictions
“The fact of the matter is that under existing law this atrocity should have been prevented,” said Cornyn(R-Texas). This gunman should not have been allowed to purchase firearms and should have been arrested when he tried to do so.”
Cornyn says he plans to introduce legislation that would specifically require all federal departments and agencies, including the department of defense to upload conviction records into the national database.
“We need to better understand why our existing laws didn’t work in this instance and that is what my proposed legislation would do after analyzing the problem we will try to ensure that everyone is complying with the law,” added Cornyn.
Senator Cornyn says his bill would crack down on state and local governments as much as the Consitution allows.