Editorial: Responsible reporting to the ATF so gun laws work - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Editorial: Responsible reporting to the ATF so gun laws work

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)

It's been more than a week since the small Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas was targeted by gunman Devin Kelley.

It's been widely reported that after Kelley received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force that they neglected to alert the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms that Kelley was not legally able to own guns.

It was a major oversight, and that is a major understatement.

When Kelley went to buy guns, the information that he was guilty and served time for domestic violence should have been readily apparent in any background check.

Kelley also should have been disqualified for being involuntarily committed due to mental health issues, another huge red flag rendered invisible because it was not reported to the ATF.

The fact that it was not reported directly, led to Kelley killing 26 innocents that day.

Now the Air Force is investigating why Kelley's disqualifying information was never passed on to the gun-buying database. But we shouldn't stop there.

Every branch of the service and every police agency needs to go back and make sure that type of information is quickly passed on so the laws can be followed.

There is no excuse for not reporting convictions for domestic abuse to the background databases.

Accurate background checks do work to keep guns out of the hands of the violent. 

But that assumes the responsible agencies do their job and properly report these convictions.

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