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A US Air Force error allowed the Texas gunman to buy weapons

Ed Jones/ AFP/ Getty Images
  • Devin Patrick Kelley, the gunman in the deadliest mass shooting in Texas, received a domestic violence conviction from the military.
  • Kelley’s conviction was not entered by the military into a federal database, allowing him to purchase firearms.

The US Air Force on Monday said it had failed to record gunman Devin Patrick Kelley’s domestic violence conviction into a federal database following his discharge from the military, which could have prevented him from buying the rifle he used to kill 26 people.

Kelley was convicted of domestic violence from a military court after he was found guilty of assaulting his spouse and child, according to several media reports. The military’s failure to note Kelley’s conviction into the National Criminal Information Center, a federal database, allowed him to pass several background checks and purchase firearms.

“The Air Force has launched a review of how the service handled the criminal records of former Airman Devin P. Kelley following his 2012 domestic violence conviction,” the Air Force said in a statement. “Federal law prohibited him from buying or possessing firearms after this conviction.”

Kelley, a former Airman who received a discharge for bad conduct in 2014 and was sentenced to a year in prison, purchased four firearms between 2015 and 2017, police said. Three of them, including an assault-style rifle, were located at the scene of the shooting.

Kelley, who police said is believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a brief chase, killed 26 people at First Baptist Church in rural Texas on Sunday. The shooting was the deadliest in Texas history.

The Air Force said it would also examine whether other convictions had gone unreported.

“The service will also conduct a comprehensive review of Air Force databases to ensure records in other cases have been reported correctly,” the Air Force statement said.

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