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US cities sue DOD over national gun background-check system
US cities sue DOD over national gun background-check system

The cities of New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia filed a lawsuit [text, PDF] on Friday against the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] for its failure to report criminal conviction records in the military justice system needed for the national gun background-check database.

The support for filing the lawsuit comes after the US Air Force revealed [NPR report] that it failed to report the criminal record of a man who killed numerous people, and injured many others, in a Texas church shooting in November. The US Air Force stated that the man’s information was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database [FBI materials], which the FBI oversees and uses to run required background check requests from gun dealers prior to a sale. The cities’ attorneys assert that the database must stay current in order to ensure people’s protection and prevent those who do not qualify from getting guns.

The complaint seeks an injunction, which would require the DOD to fix the gaps in its background-check system by submit ongoing and past records to the FBI for inclusion into the system.

In response to the shooting, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a press release [text], stating that the system is “critical . . . to keep guns out of the hands of those that are prohibited from owning them,” and the discovery that relevant information is not being reported is “alarming” and “unacceptable.” Sessions ordered a review of the system to identify and fix the gaps in the system.