The cities of New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco have joined together to file a federal lawsuit against the Pentagon concerning the Department of Defense’s broken process of reporting service members to the national background check system. The court documents cited the lack of reporting as one of the reasons for November’s deadly shooting spree at a Baptist church in Sutherland, Texas. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued a statement:
“This failure on behalf of the Department of Defense has led to the loss of innocent lives by putting guns in the hands of criminals and those who wish to cause immeasurable harm. New York City is joining Philadelphia and San Francisco to stand up to the Department of Defense and demand they comply with the law and repair their drastically flawed system.”
The lawsuit echoes bipartisan legislation (which quickly lost steam) that was introduced in the Senate two weeks after the Texas shooting that left 26 dead. While military leaders from several branches have previously stated that the system has some problems, the lawsuit is seeking judicial overwatch to ensure that the military complies with the existing laws.
In a statement, the Pentagon declined to comment specifically on the case, but said that the Department of Defense is currently working with the individual armed services to “review and refine their policies and procedures to ensure qualifying criminal history information is submitted to the FBI.”
According to the suit, each branch has serious problems in reporting service members to the national background check system: The Air Force did not submit records 14 percent of the time. The Navy and Marine Corps both did not submit 36 percent of the time, and the Army did not submit in 41 percent of its cases.
(Via Military Times)