Should the Air Force be Sued in Sutherland Springs Mass Shooting?
You may have not seen this ruling when it was handed down on Friday by the Texas State Supreme Court.
In 2017 a gunman killed 26 people at a Sutherland Springs church in the deadliest ever mass shooting in Texas history. Family members of the victims along with survivors brought multiple lawsuits against Academy Sports and Outdoors for selling the assault rifle used in the shooting.
In four lawsuits, filed in Bexar County, victims and family members accused the retailer of negligence for selling a Model 8500 Ruger AR-556, fitted with a 30-round magazine, from its San Antonio store to Devin Kelley, 26, a former airman who served a year in confinement following an assault conviction in 2012. He was released from the U.S. Air Force in 2014 with a bad conduct discharge. Kelley lived in Comal County, about 50 miles outside of San Antonio.
The gunman was a former member of the United States Air Force and in ruling in Academy's favor, the Texas Tribune reports the gunman's background was not fully disclosed by the Air Force.
Although federal law disqualified Kelley from purchasing a firearm at the time of the sale — based in part on his conviction in a 2012 court-martial for assaulting his wife and stepson and his dishonorable discharge from the United States Air Force — that disqualifying information was not in the system, which authorized Academy to 'Proceed' with the sale," the court found.
This is an egregious error by the Air Force in my opinion. Apparently, Academy did not know of the gunman's prior conviction when doing a background check on him.
I am no lawyer but if anybody should be sued here, it should be the United States Air Force for not putting his conviction in their database and allowing this awful individual fall through the cracks. This is a terrible thing that happened, and it could have been prevented had the Air Force done its job.
So, what do you think? Is Academy culpable here for selling the gun to this mass murderer or does the onus fall on the government and the Air Force? Let us know your opinion on Facebook or chat with us on our station app.