By Tom Knighton
In the wake of Sutherland Springs, the military took a bit of a beating. It was understandable, particularly because the shooter should never have been able to purchase his guns. The Department of Defense failed to add him to the National Instant Check System (NICS) database, along with numerous others.
According to CNN, they immediately rushed to fix that mistake, adding over 4,000 dishonorable discharges to the system.
Since an ex-US airman shot more than two dozen people in a Texas church in November, the US military has added more than 4,000 names to the nation’s list of dishonorably discharged military personnel banned from owning firearms — a sign of what has been a massive hole in the nation’s gun buying background check system.
The gunman in the Sutherland Springs massacre had been kicked out of the military for assaulting his wife. By federal law, that should have prevented the shooter from purchasing his semiautomatic rifle, but the US Air Force later admitted it had not submitted his records to the FBI’s background check system.
In the months since, the 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.
The FBI figures track the reasons civilians and ex-military personnel are barred from owning guns. The agency separately quantifies dishonorable discharges, which includes personnel convicted by a general court-martial. Other types of military dismissals that could legally stop someone from owning a gun are not broken out from the civilian population in the FBI data.
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