WASHINGTON—The military services failed to submit to the FBI hundreds of required records related to certain court-martial convictions that would prevent offenders from obtaining guns, according to a new DOD Inspector General report released Tuesday.
The report comes after it was found that Air Force veteran Devin Kelley– who killed 26 members of a Texas church Nov.5– was court-martialed in 2014 for domestic violence and his military records were not sent to the FBI.
Focusing on records from 2015 and 2016, the report identified 2,502 convicted offenders that were required to have their fingerprint cards and final deposition reports sent to the FBI to be entered into their Next Generation Identification (NGI) database. Of those offender records, the findings found that 601 (24 percent) of the fingerprint cards and 780 (31 percent) of the final deposition reports were not submitted.
Without these records in the database “can allow someone to purchase a weapon who should not, hinder criminal investigations, and potentially impact law enforcement and national security interests,” according to the report.
The amount of these records missing varied among the services, with the Army having the worst rate of 262 (28 percent) missing fingerprint cards and 385 (41 percent) missing final deposition reports.
The Navy was next with 197 (29 percent) missing fingerprint cards and 243 (36 percent) of missing deposition reports.
The Marine Corps had 37 (29 percent) missing fingerprint cards and 46 (36 percent) missing deposition reports.
The Air Force had the lowest rate at 105 (14 percent) missing fingerprint cards and 106 (14 percent) missing deposition reports.
The report recommended to military leadership that the issue be addressed immediately and that the records identified in the report as missing be submitted. It also recommended that the military services conduct a comprehensive review going back to 1998– when the DOD was first required to give the records to the FBI– to make sure all available records are submitted.
While the evaluation did not determine what caused these records to be missing, it did state that there will be another evaluation that will “examine the policies, practices, and procedures regarding the submission of required information to FBI databases,” as well as “assess the causes for the enduring deficiencies that we found in this review.”