Tags: Gun Control | Gun Rights | Mass Shootings | Terror in Texas | ken paxton | texas | church shooting

Paxton: 'We Might Not Have 26 Dead' If Gun Law Was Followed

(Fox News' "America's Newsroom")

By    |   Tuesday, 07 November 2017 03:34 PM

There are existing laws on the books that could have kept Texas church shooter Devin Kelley from getting hold of the guns he used to kill 26 and injure dozens more, and had that law been followed, "we might not have 26 dead people," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday.

"I can tell you for the four purchases that he made, the system did their required checks and there was no prohibitive information in the systems that we checked that say he could not have purchased that firearm," Paxton told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" anchor Bill Hemmer. "In all three of those databases, there was not information that we would have said was prohibitive for that man to get the firearm."

Air Force officials admitted Monday that Kelley, a veteran, had been found guilty in 2012 of assaulting his wife and her child, and had been given 12 months confinement and a bad conduct discharge, but none of that information was reported to a federal database, as required by Pentagon rules.

His discharge came in 2014, and that same year, Kelley bought the first of four weapons.

News broke Tuesday that Kelley was able to escape from a mental health facility in 2012, in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, months after beating his then wife and her young son.

Police picked him up at an El Paso bus station, and witness told them he had "suffered from mental disorders and had plans to run from Peak Behavioral Health Services."

Kelley had also been caught sneaking firearms onto Holloman Air Force base, witnesses told police, and "was attempting to carry out death threats" against his superiors in the military.

"I haven't focused so much on federal law," Paxton said. "I mostly focus on state law. The main point here is we had existing law. Had it been followed – whether it was the responsibility of the military or somebody else – had it been followed, we might not have 26 dead people."

There is a great outcry for new gun control laws, following both the Texas massacre and the Las Vegas shootings, but Paxton said the focus should be on enforcing the laws that are already in existence.

Paxton said he does not have an answer about if the Air Force can be held liable, but instead, that will be something the Department of Justice and the Air Force will need to examine.

Meanwhile, Kelley is dead of a self-inflicted wound, making the investigation much more difficult for local and federal investigators.

The shootings were recorded on video, as cameras were running during the church service at the First Baptist Church of Sunderland Springs that day, but Paxton said he can't comment on the recording. He does think the video might help.

He also said, while he cannot discuss the case much, he can say Kelley had "severe problems"

Kelley's severe problems should have been recognized, said Paxton, and the real breakdown is the "fact that the system broke. We should have caught this. This guy should have never been able to get these weapons and the breakdown is at least there and maybe as we investigate we'll find out that maybe some of the family members should have notified authorities. That may be something that we determine down the road."

It has been reported Kelley's in-laws were members of the church, but they were not present during the service, although his wife's mother was, and he killed her.

"I don't think they attended all that often but they attended occasionally, is what I've been told," Paxton said. "It's odd that he chose the Sunday they weren't there. Maybe he didn't realize they weren't there. We're trying to figure that out."

He said there is also no evidence pointing to whether Kelley had been at the church before.

"I think part of it, too, he wanted to go to a place where it would take first responders a long time to get there," he said. "There may have been numerous factors that affected why he chose this location."

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Had Texas' current gun laws been followed, "we might not have 26 dead people," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Fox News on Tuesday.
ken paxton, texas, church shooting, attorney general
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2017-34-07
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 03:34 PM
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