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What Law Would Have Stopped Devin Patrick Kelley, Who Was Not Legally Allowed a Gun Already

Editor’s Note: This morning comes a contradictory report that Kelley was not dishonorably discharged, but discharged for bad behavior. The latter would not have directly barred him from gun ownership.

By Erick Erickson

Devin Patrick Kelley has been identified as the shooter at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland, TX. He was dishonorably discharged from the military. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), Kelley is already prohibited from legal gun ownership. Federal law prohibits individuals dishonorably discharged from the military from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms and ammunition.

So can someone please tell me what would have stopped him? Because right now the only answer is the legal gun owner who did stop him.

UPDATED: Anti-gun zealots are out saying Texas has no background check requirements. That is entirely misleading. Every Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”) is required to run an instant federal background check. That means if Kelley bought his gun as most people do, he would have had a background check. Texas, like many states, does not require background checks for private sales. So either Kelley purchased in a private sale or he stole the gun. It apparently was on his Facebook page so I assume a private sale. But let’s get the facts right here. And, notwithstanding a private sale if it was that, Kelley was still legally prohibited from owning a gun.

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