Devin Kelley, the shooter responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history, should not have been able to buy a gun.
Kelley was discharged from the United States Air Force in 2012 for “bad conduct,” which in and of itself would not have barred him from purchasing a gun after going through the national background check. But the federal background check does flag convictions for domestic abuse, which Kelley had. This information should have been entered into the federal database by the Air Force, stopping Kelly from purchasing the multiple rifles he had.
Kelley had his request for a license to carry a handgun in Texas denied, yet he passed the federal background check when buying assault rifles. NYT reports that the Air Force is currently running an internal investigation into how the crucial information was simply left out of Kelley’s background.
Kelley had a history of domestic violence: In his 2012 court-martial, he admitted to beating and choking his wife just months after marrying her. He also admitted to repeatedly hitting his young stepson, once so hard that it cracked the boy’s skull. Yet none of this came up when he bought his rifles, since the Air Force never bothered to actually make this criminal record available to the federal background database.
There is some speculation that Kelley’s motives for the shooting lay in this same domestic rage. His mother-in-law attended the church that Kelley opened fire on, and he killed his grandmother-in-law in the shooting.
Revelations like these led President Donald Trump to label “mental health” as the reason for the shooting, despite the fact that earlier this year he repealed an Obama-era law that made it more difficult for mentally ill people to buy guns.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who spends his time on social media imploring his citizens to buy more guns, couldn’t understand why this man had been allowed to buy a gun. Neither can the Air Force. Neither can Elise Hasbrook, who sold Kelley two of his rifles. Neither can we.