Citizens Committee Blasts Biden Administration Over Texas Shooting Settlement
When Fox News reported that the Biden Justice Department had reached “a $144 million agreement in principle” to settle civil lawsuits filed against the Air Force in the aftermath of a 2017 mass shooting in Texas, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms called it “one more black mark in Joe Biden’s long record of failed gun control policies.”
The lawsuits, filed by dozens of plaintiffs, alleged the Air Force was negligent for failing to report the criminal record of Devin Patrick Kelley, who was convicted of domestic violence while serving in 2012. He was discharged in 2014 for bad conduct. The conviction would have prevented him from buying and owning firearms. Because the conviction was not reported to the National Instant Check System (NICS), Kelley was able to successfully lie on a Form 4473 in April 2016, when he bought the rifle used in the attack.
All of this was spelled out by the CCRKBA in a scathing statement noting Kelley’s violations occurred while Joe Biden was vice president under Barack Obama, and also served as Obama’s “gun czar” as head of a task force “which was supposed to provide proposals to reform gun laws.”
As noted in the Fox News report, “U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez said in 2021 that had the government done its job and entered Kelley’s history into the database, ‘it is more likely than not that Kelley would have been deterred from carrying out the Church shooting.’”
Back in 2012, The Guardian noted in a story about the gun task force, “Barack Obama…put the issue of tackling gun violence at the heart of his second term, placing his vice-president in charge of a task force to produce concrete proposals on the reform of firearm laws within weeks.”
The irony of this timing is only becoming relevant now, more than a decade after Biden—a career gun prohibitionist who recently insisted he is “a Second Amendment guy” because he owns two shotguns—headed the “task force” which was supposed to come up with solutions to gun-related violence.
Biden’s shotgun remark, reported by CNS News, brought heaps of sarcasm from grassroots activists, including one man in Florida who observed in a telephone conversation with this correspondent, “I own a guitar, but that doesn’t make me Jimi Hendrix.”
“It was Biden’s responsibility as Barack Obama’s ‘gun czar’ to prevent this sort of thing,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “Now, more than ten years later, we’re learning that Joe Biden couldn’t even do that job right, and the taxpayers will ultimately be paying $144 million for this.”
Biden headed the gun control task force early in Obama’s second term.
According to a Wikipedia history of the rampage at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., Kelley bought two guns in 2012, and later, he was able to buy four other guns, including the semi-auto Ruger rifle with which he killed more than two dozen people in the church in November 2017.
“Although the crime occurred after Obama and Biden left office,” Gottlieb noted, “they (Biden and Obama) have to own this tragedy because the Kelley case, the Air Force foul-up and the subsequent gun purchases all happened on their watch.”
Kelley was confronted as he left the church by a neighbor, Stephen Willeford, who shot at him with an AR-15 rifle. Kelley was hit twice and he fled with Willeford and another man in hot pursuit while contacting police to let them know where the killer was headed.
Eventually, Kelley lost control of his vehicle and swerving off the highway, into a field. It was there he took his own life.
Willeford was hailed as a hero for his intervention. He was a firearms instructor and the fact that he opened fire on the killer with a rifle Biden wants to ban has not been lost on millions of gun owners and Second Amendment activists.
In recent days following the school shooting in Nashville, Biden has attempted to bring public pressure on Congress to push his gun control agenda. Gottlieb is having none of it.
“The blood in Texas is on the hands of Joe Biden and Barack Obama, just as sure as the settlement will be at the expense of the taxpayers,” Gottlieb said. “Now we’re supposed to admonish Congress for not moving ahead on Biden’s gun prohibition agenda. We’re tired of paying the price for his failures, and we should not be expected to sacrifice our rights just so he can claim some make-believe victory against crime.”
Gottlieb is cutting Biden no slack.
“Americans are suffering from Biden’s incompetence as president,” the veteran gun rights advocate said, “and gun owners have become whipping boys because the Texas killer was repeatedly able to slip through the system like the president slips up repeatedly during speeches, and even while climbing the steps to Air Force One.”
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.