At best, one could say that Texas church shooter Devin Kelley was a deeply disturbed individual. At worst, one could say he was an animal, a sociopath whose way of relating to the world and those around him was almost sure to lead to great harm to himself and others at some point.
Leaving aside the fact that twisted individuals with malicious intent will always find a way to cause harm with whatever means are at their disposal, it has been revealed that the system failed parishioners at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in that the Air Force failed to report to the FBI that Kelly, a former airman, had been convicted of domestic violence. Kelly also reportedly escaped from a mental health hospital in 2012.
Both of these facts ̶ Kelly’s domestic violence conviction and his time in the mental health facility ̶ rendered him ineligible to own or possess firearms or ammunition under federal law. Ideally, they would have flagged him in relevant databases, rendering him unable to legally purchase firearms anywhere in the United States. As we have learned, these databases were not up to date.
Consequently, circumspect, law-abiding individuals, prominent Republican politicos and gun-control-advancing leftists alike are calling for more efficiency in the reporting process with regard to individuals who are legally ineligible to own or possess firearms so that tragedies involving perpetrators who slip through the cracks can be avoided.
It can be difficult to argue against gun-control measures (particularly those that appear to be “reasonable”) when truly disgusting evidence surfaces relating to perpetrators of high-profile crimes involving firearms. Such is definitely the case concerning Devin Kelley, who once fractured his baby stepson’s skull during an altercation with his wife. Further reluctance to argue against gun control can stem from widespread admonitions to refrain from politicizing instances such as Kelly’s rampage, despite the fact that the political left retains license to politicize whatever they like.
Still, such arguments need to be made considering the fact that neutralizing the Second Amendment remains central to the agenda of the political left.
It is easy to assess the background of an individual like Devin Kelley and arrive at the conclusion that he should not have been allowed to possess firearms. It is also easy for law-abiding citizens to obligingly conform to conventional wisdom: Should felons, perpetrators of domestic violence, or former mental patients be allowed to own firearms? Of course not!
Well, let’s have a look at that. Most Americans could probably not relate an accurate definition of what a felon is. United States Code 18 U.S.C. 922 (the Gun Control Act of 1968) very loosely defines a felon as anyone convicted of or pleading guilty to any crime for which a judge could have sentenced them to one year or more of prison time. This legislation also disqualifies anyone who has ever been a patient at a mental health facility (voluntarily or involuntarily). This would include the rape victim who subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown and admitted herself to a mental health facility in order to deal with the trauma. Anyone determined to be “an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” (past or present, as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act of 1971) is also prohibited from owning or possessing firearms ̶ ever.
Then, there are literally hundreds of laws and regulations on the books at the county, state and local levels that further restrict firearms ownership, possession, and one’s ability to carry a concealed firearm. Many of these are quite arbitrary, and most fly in the face of the Second Amendment.
Who makes the determination as to who is a felon, a domestic abuser or one who is in a state of mental incapacity? Why, the same agencies that have proven they are singularly dedicated to dismantling the Second Amendment in a piecemeal manner.
Sadly, in their infinite capacity for intellectual indolence, the majority of Americans mutely accept these measures, trusting in a government they know to be untrustworthy because all is said to be done in the name of their safety.
Are there conceivably instances in which a person who would never use a firearm in an untoward manner might be convicted of domestic violence? Of course there are ̶ but under federal law, all such persons are forever barred from using a firearm to defend themselves, their loved ones or their property against criminals who themselves might be armed.
Like the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), passed in 1996) bans access to firearms by people convicted of crimes of domestic violence, whether or not a firearm or other weapon was used in the commission of the related crime. While this measure passed with the mute acceptance of intellectually indolent Americans who reasoned that those brutes convicted of domestic violence had it coming, it is clearly just another of many gun control measures calculated to further narrow the funnel of those eligible to own or possess firearms.
Just try purchasing a firearm or obtaining a concealed carry permit in a liberal-controlled state or major city and you’ll get a much clearer picture of the end game here. The sanctity of the Second Amendment becomes lost in mountains of onerous legislation that effectively imparts the message “Because we said so.”