by Mark Walters

In a 99-page ruling in Holcombe v. United States, U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio ruled the government is 60% responsible for damages stemming from the Sutherland Springs, TX church shooting and the killer 40% responsible. I call BS and say, let’s make up a new math system. Walk with me here.

The ruling is a result of the government’s failure to report the killer’s previous convictions of felony domestic violence. Specifically, the USAF failed to report his convictions for felony assault in general court-martial and subsequent dishonorable discharge from USAF to NICS. Both are disqualifiers from ever owning a firearm. That failure by the USAF allowed the killer to pass a background check at an Academy Sports retailer and purchase the gun(s) used in the crime.

“The trial conclusively established that no other individual—not even [Devin] Kelley’s own parents or partners—knew as much as the United States about the violence that Devin Kelley had threatened to commit and was capable of committing. Moreover, the evidence shows that—had the government done its job and properly reported Kelley’s information into the background check system—it is more likely than not that Kelley would have been deterred from carrying out the church shooting. For these reasons, the government bears significant responsibility for the plaintiffs’ harm.” Armed American News has previously reported that the Texas Supreme Court ruled on Friday, June 25th that Academy Sports cannot be sued for selling the gun used in the Sutherland Springs church shooting.

The facts of the case are pretty clear, including these listed from the actual ruling itself.

  • Devin Kelley committed the Sutherland Springs shooting on November 5, 2017, using firearms he purchased from federal firearms licensees (“FFLs”) between December 2014 and October 2017.
  • In four separate firearms purchases, Kelley completed the required purchasing form—ATF Form 4473—certifying that he was eligible to purchase the firearm under federal law, and the retailer ran the mandatory background check through theNational Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) administered by the FBI. In each instance the response from the NICS was that the retailer could proceed with the sale.
  • Kelley should not have cleared the background check, however, because he had been convicted of a disqualifying offense in November 2012 while he was serving in the United States Air Force (“USAF”) at Holloman Air Force Base (“HAFB”) in New Mexico.
  • Specifically, after investigations by two separate law enforcement units at HAFB—Air Force Office of Special Investigations (“AFOSI”) Detachment 225 and the 49th Security Forces Squadron (“SFS”)2—Kelley was convicted by General Court-Marial of assaulting his then-wife, Tessa Brennaman, and his stepson, J.L. JEX 20.
  • USAF agents and leadership had an obligation—and multiple opportunities—to ensure that Kelley’s fingerprints and criminal history were submitted to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (“CJIS”) Division for inclusion in its databases. Its failure to do so is the basis for this action.

The killer made four separate purchases at a local Academy Sports retailer, and all were green-lighted by the NICS system to complete the purchases.

I’ve got two different lines of analysis here.

First, the government actually argued that the Academy Sports retailer should be responsible for some of the damages as they sold the killer his guns. Obviously, it’s difficult for Democrats to grasp the fact that as they scream for more background checks, which this case clearly shows, are already in place for any buyer from a federally licensed dealer…that once the checks are performed by the said dealer (using the tools required by the federal government), it should be case closed. To suggest that the dealer should be held accountable in any way after playing by the rules, reeks of anti-rights, anti-gun, political thuggery. This is why the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) exists, to protect retailers and manufacturers from brazen Democrats trying to destroy their lawful business by holding them accountable for the actions of a criminal.

Second, I’ll have some fun with the math here. Judge Rodriguez ruled the government 60% responsible for damages and the killer, 40%. Take a look at this comment from the ruling:

“The trial conclusively established that no other individual—not even [Devin] Kelley’s own parents or partners—knew as much as the United States about the violence that Devin Kelley had threatened to commit and was capable of committing. Moreover, the evidence shows that—had the government done its job and properly reported Kelley’s information into the background check system—it is more likely than not that Kelley would have been deterred from carrying out the church shooting…For these reasons, the government bears significant responsibility for the plaintiffs’ harm.”

How the judge draws the conclusion that had the government done its job the killer would more likely than not have been deterred from carrying out the church shooting, I don’t know. And why is the killer, the man who made the decisions to kill, purchased the guns, actually pulled the trigger, only 40% responsible?

Here’s what I suggest. Simply change the math. This doesn’t have to equal 100%. Let’s do Mark’s new math. The Government, in this case, the USAF, should be found 100% responsible for not entering the proper information into the NICS system as they are bound to do, by law. It’s 100% their fault the killer passed the checks, period. Had they done their jobs, the killer would have been denied. It’s as simple as that so let’s not complicate the issue.

Regarding the murderer? He also is 100% responsible for his actions and therefore 100% responsible for the damages he caused. BOTH are 100% responsible and in my math world where this type crime has occured, when the number of damages is settled on, double it.

Problem solved.