WASHINGTON, November 22, 2017 — On Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of government databases being used for background checks on gun buyers. The decision comes in response to the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Twenty-six people were killed and 20 others injured this month when gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, who was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force, opened fire at the Texas church. Reports later revealed the Air Force’s failure to enter the Texas church shooter’s domestic violence conviction into the database that may have flagged Kelley.
AG Sessions reviewing the NICS background check system
AG Sessions has said the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is “is only as reliable and robust as the information that federal, state, local, and tribal government entities make available to it.”
Sessions is directing the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to review all of the NICS data. The AG seeks to certify that sufficient steps are taken to ensure the integrity and efficacy of the database. He wants to ensure that persons not legally able to purchase weapons do not slip through bureaucratic cracks.
Sessions’ statement says that the Sutherland shooting proves that “relevant information may not be getting reported.”
Sessions: The NICS has its failures
Sessions issued a memo to the FBI Director which says:
“NICS is critically important to protecting the America public from firearms-related violence. It is, however, only as reliable and robust as the information that federal, state, local, and tribal government entities make available to it.”
AG Sessions also ordered another look at the federal form that gun buyers must fill out to buy guns. He is also asking for a summary of the number of federal prosecutions brought for making false statements on the form.
Congress wants database inclusion to include all criminal records
Since the shooting, members of Congress on both sides are pushing legislation to require criminal records to be included in the database. The Department of Defense is reviewing the case and procedures after the U.S. Air Force admitted it failed to report the gunman’s history of domestic abuse.