After the horrific massacre on Sunday in Sutherland Springs, Texas, committed by Devin Kelley, it was reported that he likely lied on ATF form 4473, which must be filled out before purchasing a gun. As CNN reported, Kelley, who had a prior conviction for domestic violence, must have lied:
When trying to get a gun, applicants have to fill out ATF form 4473, a Firearms Transaction Record. Prospective buyers are asked, "Have you ever been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions?" Technically, for Kelley, they answer was no, since the military makes critical distinctions between other-than-honorable, bad conduct and dishonorable discharges. The form also asks, "Have you ever been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?" A law enforcement official told CNN Kelley checked a box indicating he had no disqualifying criminal history when filling out the background check paperwork before his purchase. No disqualifying information showed up in the background check when it was completed, the official said.
On Monday night, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), appearing on Fox, blasted the Obama Administration for its lassitude in prosecuting felons and criminals who lied on gun purchase forms, pointing out, “The Obama Administration didn’t prosecute those cases. In 2010, 48,000 felons and fugitives lied and illegally tried to purchase guns; they prosecuted only 44 of them.”
This should have been stopped beforehand. Under federal law, it was illegal for this individual to purchase a firearm. He had a conviction for a crime that is punishable by more than a year in prison; and he had a conviction for multiple domestic violence crimes. Both of those, it’s already ineligible. But, several things happened: number one, the Air Force, the Obama Administration didn’t report those convictions to the NCIS data base. That’s an endemic problem; it’s a problem at the federal government; it’s a problem with the states. And so, when he went in to buy the guns, they ran the background check, and they didn’t find it cause it wasn’t in the data base.
But I’ll tell you: we could have prevented this. In 2013, in the wake of Sandy Hook, I joined with Chuck Grassley, we introduced legislation that was called the Grassley-Cruz legislation, and it was aggressive legislation targeting felons and violent criminals to stop them from getting guns. There were a couple elements of that legislation that were critical: one, it mandated that federal agencies, including the Air Force, report to the NCIS because that was a problem back then.
But two, and this is an even more critical piece, it had been reported to the background, the background data base, when he went into Academy to buy these weapons, he lied on the forms. That is a felony, to lie on those forms. The Obama Administration didn’t prosecute those cases. In 2010, 48,000 felons and fugitives lied and illegally tried to purchase guns; they prosecuted only 44 of them.