U.S. Air Force admitted it had failed to submit criminal records to an FBI database that would have stopped the Sutherland Springs gunman from legally purchasing weapons. The military did not report that Devin Kelley, the New Braunfels man who killed 26 and injured 20 in Sunday's church shooting, had been court-martialed in 2012 for domestic violence — a conviction that should have blocked him from ever purchasing a firearm.
The Pentagon has since admitted that, for at least two decades, it's known about a systemic failure to enter these kinds of felonies into a FBI database used as a background check for people purchasing weapons. This requirement for military branches to submit criminal information about its members is apparently an "internal Pentagon rule" that isn't upheld by any law.
To fix this gaping oversight, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the U.S. Senate, said Congress should essentially encourage the Department of Defense and state governments to follow the law.
"Tragically we saw the system fail. We need to come up with legislation to both ensure that the federal government comply with the law and upload this information," said Cornyn in a Tuesday press conference. "But also to come up with an additional set of carrots and sticks to incentivize states to comply with the law."
Cornyn suggested this law to enforce the law could find bipartisan support in Congress.
“We need to better understand why our existing laws didn't work in this instance, and that's why my proposed legislation will do," Cornyn added.
No other legislation has been mentioned to improve gun control laws since Sunday's attack — the largest mass shooting in Texas history.