Accessibility links

Breaking News

Attorney General: Feds Must Do More to Keep Guns From Criminals

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Nov. 14, 2017, in Washington.

The U.S. Attorney General says federal agencies must do a better job of keeping track of criminals who are not supposed to be able to buy guns.

On Wednesday, Jeff Sessions ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to investigate an administrative foul up that allowed felon Devin Kelley, who committed the recent mass shooting in Texas, to buy weapons. Kelley shot to death 26 people in a church.

Kelley had received a bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Air Force after he was tried, convicted and briefly imprisoned for severely beating his wife and stepson. Yet the military failed to inform officials who manage a nationwide database, which gun dealers are legally required to check before they sell weapons.

The felony conviction should have prevented Kelley from legally purchasing firearms.

In a note to journalists, Sessions says once the FBI and ATF figure out what went wrong, they are supposed to recommend ways to prevent future problems.

Pentagon officials say they are already investigating the lapse and members of Congress are proposing legislation to encourage federal agencies and states to improve reporting of this important data to the central government.