This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Devin Kelley, the suspect in the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. A short time after the shooting, Kelley was found dead in his vehicle. (Texas Department of Public Safety via AP)
This meant that Kelley essentially had a clean record, even though he’d been court-martialed, dishonorably discharged and pleaded guilty to domestic abuse charges. Because his charges were never entered into the NCIC, they essentially didn’t exist.
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 amended that Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 to affect a total of nine conditions that make someone ineligible to own a gun, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. They’re serious offenses like felony charges, known substance abuse, a dishonorable discharge from any branch of the armed services, a misdemeanor (or higher) domestic violence conviction and others.
Kelley is now known to qualify as a “prohibited person” — i.e., barred from ever legally owning a gun — on two of those conditions. He received a dishonorable discharge stemming from domestic abuse charges that he pleaded guilty to in 2012, according to Military.com.
Kelley pleaded guilty to one incident of domestic abuse in which he “struck his wife by beating her with his hands, kicking her, as well as choking her and forcefully pulling her hair” and another incident, a beating of a child under 16 in which he hit the child “on the head and body with a force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm,” according to court documents reviewed by Military.com. These incidents occurred between 2011 and 2012.
Three additional charges were withdrawn and dismissed. They alleged that Kelley struck a child, as well as assaulted and threatened his wife by pointing both loaded and unloaded firearms at her.
As for Kelley and owning a firearm, that should have been it. A convicted domestic abuser with a dishonorable discharge, he would have failed any background test run on him for the purpose of acquiring a permit or purchasing a weapon.
But his convictions never came up on background checks; they were never entered, according to the Air Force, which has pledged a “complete review of the Kelley case by the Air Force Office of the Inspector General” in a statement released Monday.