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US Defense Department Sued Over 'Flawed' Background Checks of Gun Buyers

  • VOA News

FILE - Law enforcement officers gather in front of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, after a fatal shooting, Nov. 5, 2017.

Three large U.S. cities are suing the Defense Department for allegedly failing to provide "significant numbers" of records to the FBI's national background check system for gun ownership.

New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia filed the lawsuit after the U.S. Air Force disclosed that it had failed to report the criminal record of a man who shot and killed 26 people at a Texas church in November.

"This failure on behalf of the Department of Defense has led to the loss of innocent lives by putting guns in the hands of criminals and those who wish to cause immeasurable harm," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "New York City is joining Philadelphia and San Francisco to stand up to the Department of Defense and demand they comply with the law and repair their drastically flawed system."

The Air Force is investigating why the 2012 domestic violence conviction of the Texas church shooter, Devin Kelley, 26, was not properly entered into the FBI's database that could have stopped him from legally buying the rifle he used in the attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

A report released by the Defense Department's inspector general this month found the U.S. military overall had failed to submit fingerprint data for 24 percent of the convicted offenders reviewed.

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