The Air Force is requiring higher levels of review before criminal cases are closed in order to ensure required disclosures are reported to the FBI’s National Instant Back Check database, Secretary Heather Wilson told Senate lawmakers on Dec. 6.
The new steps come after the Air Force failed to report the criminal background of a former airman to federal authorities, a disclosure that would have prevented him from purchasing firearms before he fatally shot 26 people last month inside a Texas church, the Washington Times reported.
Multiple levels of command now have to confirm that required disclosures have been made to the background check system in all reported incidents, Wilson said.
She also told lawmakers it could take up to five months to complete a review of 60,000 cases in which service members potentially should have been reported to the federal gun background-check database.
The now deceased Texas gunman, Devin Kelley, was able to obtain multiple firearms legally after passing background checks despite a history of abusing his ex-wife and stepson during his time in the Air Force.
Once a final report on the Kelly incident is completed by the Air Force, Ms. Wilson said a decision “about any accountability or disciplinary action” will be made.
“Before we pass new laws, we should make sure that our current laws are being effectively followed and enforced,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles E. Grassley (R-IA). “We should also make sure that existing programs designed to ensure NICS reporting compliance are fully funded and effectively run.”