Editorial: Sutherland Springs ruling highlights bipartisan gun control efforts

Editorial: Sutherland Springs ruling highlights bipartisan gun control efforts

A memorial for the more than two dozen victims killed Nov. 5, 2017, at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Carolyn Van Houten. To be sure, Second Amendment absolutists in Congress succeeded in derailing comprehensive reforms passed by the U.S. House that would have wisely required background checks on all gun sales, including unlicensed sales between strangers who meet online or at gun shows. But a second, more modest effort led by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas that was widely panned as too weak has been revealed as a tangible, effective step by a ruling by a federal judge in San Antonio this week. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez for the Western District of Texas ruled in a lawsuit brought by Sutherland Springs victims’ relatives and survivors that the U.S. Air Force was 60 percent liable for the massacre, noting, “…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.” In doing so, he affirmed the instinct by Cornyn and the Democrat he partnered with, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, that fixing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to prevent felons and domestic abusers from purchasing guns was one important way to reduce the likelihood of similar shootings in the future. NICS was in the crosshairs due to the Air Force’s failure to […]

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