A prominent senator demanded Monday that the Pentagon go back and review all its disciplinary records and update the gun background check system, saying the Air Force botched its reporting duties and helped fuel this weekend’s horrific mass shooting in Texas.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said the Defense Department needs to familiarize itself with what records it’s required to turn over, then go look back through the last decade’s worth of investigations and cases to see who should be listed but isn’t.
“If this can happen in one case, it could happen in others,” the New York Democrat said in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Her demand came as authorities said the person believed responsible for Sunday’s tragic attack on a Texas church had military convictions for domestic violence. Some lawmakers have said if those had been reported to the background check system the man would have been refused the sale of the firearm he used in his shooting spree.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is run by the federal government to provide what’s supposed to be a comprehensive check when someone attempts to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer.
A large swath of data on individuals, including criminal records and some mental health reporting, is supposed to be made available to the NICS, and if someone is not supposed to be able to purchase a weapon his or her purchase is to be flagged.