A little over three months after ex-airman Patrick Kelley shot and killed 25 people and an unborn child at the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in Texas, the United States military has reportedly added over 4,000 names to a gun ban list consisting of dishonorably discharged military personnel. Mere days after the Sutherland Springs shooting, it was revealed that Kelley’s domestic violence conviction should have prevented him from owning any firearms, prompting an investigation by the Pentagon. This later determined the Air Force had failed to report dozens of convictions for background checks.
[T]he US Department of Defense has scrambled to ensure all of its branches have properly updated the FBI’s system to track personnel kicked out of the military who are barred from owning firearms.
That push, a CNN review has found, has uncovered a backlog so significant that the FBI’s tally of dishonorably discharged former service members has ballooned by 4,284 names in just three months, a 38% leap.
Of course, the Department of Defense “has not yet publicly acknowledged that the military has vastly expanded its submissions since the shooting.” Yet the “belatedly filed reports” uncovered by CNN’s review indicate that the U.S. military is hastily trying to make up for lost time in the wake of Sutherland Springs. It also suggests that “for an unknown period, more than 4,000 people had the opportunity to buy guns from dealers while they should have been legally barred from it.”
As for the reasoning behind adding dishonorably discharged military personnel to a gun ban list, such discharges “are reserved for people convicted by the military of violence or serious misconduct — crimes equivalent to a felony.” And seeing as how anyone in the U.S. who is convicted of a felony cannot legally obtain firearms, that discharged service members whose expulsion resulted from a felonies shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns should go without saying.