texas church shooting
The military quietly added the names of more than 4,000 dishonorably discharged military personnel to the FBI's background check system after a former Air Force member killed 26 people at a Texas church in November, CNN reports. Devin Patrick Kelley, the 26-year-old shooter, had not been entered into a national database by the Air Force after receiving a bad-conduct discharge for assaulting his wife; if his name had been in the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) database, he would have been prohibited from purchasing firearms.
After the November attack, the Department of Defense rushed to make sure the FBI's system was up to date. CNN found that the backlog was "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 percent leap." In 2015, the number of people blocked from owning firearms due to being dishonorably discharged was around 11,000. After November, that bloomed to where it is today, at 15,597.
Still, the database is not perfect, and it only blocks sales through licensed dealers. Purchases from neighbors, for example, do not require a background check, CNN notes. Nevertheless, "the background check system has blocked over three million illegal attempts to buy guns," said the co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Avery W. Gardiner. "But a database is only as good as the data in it."