Lawmakers calls for military to tighten up criminal reporting

Virginia lawmakers are asking tough questions about how the Texas Church shooter got a weapon

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WVEC)--Virginia lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are calling for big changes, following the shooting rampage at a Texas church that killed 26 people.

Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Scott Taylor say the Pentagon needs to tighten procedures that allowed the gunman to purchase firearms. 

The Air Force in particular is under fire for failing to report the accused Texas church shooter's domestic violence conviction to the FBI as required by Pentagon rules.

Former Air Force Airman Devin Patrick Kelley was convicted of assault against his wife and stepson in an Air Force court-martial in New Mexico in 2012. He served 12 months in confinement before being given a bad-conduct discharge in 2014.

Had the conviction information been entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check database, Kelley would have been prevented from purchasing firearms.

Senator Tim Kaine says a similar lapse in 2007 led to the Virginia Tech shooter being able to get a gun, which he says was a powerful lesson.

"We know this situation very well because the Virginia Tech shooting involved the failure to introduce information into the NCIC system," said Kaine. "And we will get to the bottom of this, not just with respect to the Air Force, but this question raises a more general question about D.o.D.-wide: What about the other branches? Are other service branches introducing this information into the NCIC system or not?"

Congressman Scott Taylor plans to "champion" a bipartisan bill to force the Pentagon to do more.

"And this would say to D.o.D. that you will, not just the Air Force, but D.o.D.-wide, the military, if someone has offended with domestic violence, that will e-reported to the FBI data vase so there's no gaps in there," he said.

The Department of Defense's Inspector General will review the handling of Kelley's records and will also review relevant policies to ensure records from other military cases have been reported correctly.

An air Force spokeswoman says, "The service will also conduct a comprehensive review of Air Force databases to ensure records in other cases have been reported correctly."

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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