Thompson and Langevin Slam Air Force's Failure to Submit Information on Sutherland Springs Shooter to FBI
Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and Rep. Jim Langevin (RI-02), a senior member of the House on Armed Services Committee, responded to a Department of Defense’s (DOD) Investigator General (IG) report on the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.
“Today’s report highlights a clear failure by both the Department of Defense and the United States Air Force to submit information to law enforcement that could have helped prevent this shooting. Putting records in the system helps keep firearms out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves or others and the DOD and USAF must be held accountable for this grave oversight,” said Chairman Thompson. “This report is yet another indicator of why a strong background checks system is so important and why all relevant entities must have an obligation to information that can help keep people safe. And it’s why I plan to fight for passage of legislation mandating universal background checks in the upcoming, 116th Congress. Background checks work and they will help keep our constituents safer from gun violence.”
“The Inspector General’s report is very disturbing. There were six opportunities for the Air Force to ensure this dangerous individual could not purchase a firearm, yet information about his history of violence was never conveyed to the FBI,” said Ranking Member Langevin. “These systematic failures are unacceptable, and I will continue vigorous oversight in Congress to ensure a lapse like this never happens again. The victims of the Sutherland Springs shooting deserved better from our government, and while nothing will bring their loved ones back, we owe it to them to do everything in our power to keep guns out of the wrong hands and stem the tide of gun violence that has taken so many innocent lives.”
Because the shooter in Sutherland Springs had a criminal history, that information should have been submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In November 2017, Thompson and Langevin wrote to the Secretary of Defense asking why those conviction records were not submitted. Today, the IG concluded that the United States Air Force clearly failed to follow DOD policy. The report makes recommendations to address this failure. A copy of the letter Thompson, Langevin and 75 other Democrats sent to the Secretary of Defense is attached.
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force as well as the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.