The Daily Beast is reporting that church shooter Devin Patrick Kelly was “kicked out of the Air Force for ‘bad conduct'” and therefore was eligible to own a firearm.
There are at least three misleading elements to this report.
First, the “bad conduct” discharge is being reported without a source. I don’t have a definitive source for the type of discharge Kelley received. A dishonorable discharge is the result of a federal felony conviction. CNN reported that Kelley “as court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of Article 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, assault on his spouse and assault on their child.” If this was a misdemeanor, then that could have resulted in a bad conduct discharge (“BCD”) versus a dishonorable discharge (“DD”).
Second, the distinction is not important given the nature of the crime. Domestic violence offenders are barred from owning firearms. Regardless of whether it was a felony or a misdemeanor, Kelley was not allowed to buy or own a gun per federal law.
Third, the media is being very careful to avoid reporting that Kelley was ineligible to own a firearm under existing federal gun control laws.
Kelley was court-martialed in November 2012 for assaulting his wife and their child. A judge sentenced him with a bad-conduct discharge, 12 months confinement, and two reductions in rank to basic airman, according to an appeals court decision in 2013 that affirmed the decision against Kelley. Kelley entered First Baptist Church at approximately 11:30 a.m.
A picture is starting to emerge of the suspected gunman who killed 26 people Sunday at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the broad reach of a federal law that bars people with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions from owning guns.