Well well well.
After the left predictably spent the first 36 hours after the Texas church shooting blaming Republicans and the NRA for allowing yet another mass murder to take place through their refusal to pass new gun laws, it turns out that – under CURRENT federal gun laws – there was no reason that shooter Devin Kelley should have been able to purchase his firearm to begin with. Because Kelley was convicted of a domestic violence charge while serving in the Air Force and subsequently given a bad conduct discharge, he should have been precluded from buying the AR-15-style rifle he used to kill 26 people in Sutherland Springs. But thanks to the Air Force’s failure to report Kelley’s conviction to the FBI, the background check system returned no red flags and Kelley was able to purchase his weapon.
Which makes you think: If we’re going to consider new gun laws, shouldn’t we first enforce the ones already on the books?
In a Monday evening statement, Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek explained the problem: “Initial information indicates that Kelley’s domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database by the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations. 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 has also requested that the Department of Defense Inspector General review records and procedures across the Department of Defense.”
Now, people will be tempted to turn their ire on the military’s bureaucracy at this point, as if the Air Force is somehow responsible for the deaths of those churchgoers. But that’s not the case. Perhaps, if some clerk had done their job, Kelley would have been prevented from buying the gun. On the other hand, perhaps he would have just had to work a little bit harder. Or perhaps he would have chosen to ram his truck through the church instead. Or build a bomb. In any event, it’s not difficult to imagine a scenario where even someone who can’t pass a background check can still unleash mass mayhem. It’s not difficult to imagine because we’ve all seen it happen.
That’s not to say that we should just throw the doors open and start selling semiautomatic rifles to any psycho with a criminal record who walks in the door; it’s only to say that even the best laws of protection can only do so much. We have a problem with violence in this country – qualifying it with the phrase “gun violence” doesn’t do the issue justice. Democrats will call for “commonsense gun laws,” but that’s exactly what we already have on the books. And, as demonstrated here and as demonstrated in Charleston, S.C., and as demonstrated in the inner city of Chicago every damn day, those laws don’t always do the trick.
To the extent we can, let’s enforce them. To the extent that we can’t, let’s start looking not at HOW these lunatics are killing people…but why.