Judge Denies Academy’s Request to Dismiss Lawsuit in Connection to Mass Shooting

District Judge Karen Pozza has denied Academy Sports + Outdoor’s request to dismiss a lawsuit in connection to a 2017 mass shooting at First Baptist Church.

Information About the Lawsuit Against Academy Sports + Outdoors

According to the Houston Chronicle, Devin Kelley walked into First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and began to shoot worshipers, killing 26 people and injuring 20 others.

Kelley used a Ruger AR-556 and 30-round magazines he had purchased  at a San Antonio Academy Sports + Outdoors 18 months before the shooting.

Families of the victims claim that Academy Sports should not have sold the weapons to Kelley because of his previous criminal convictions, accusing the store of negligence.

Government Admits Fault for Failed Background Check

“Learning that this senseless act of violence might have been prevented if only the proper form was filled out by military investigators was absolutely devastating.”- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

In a statement released after the attack, U.S. Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek acknowledged that the government failed to properly document the shooter’s criminal past.

According to Stefanek, “Initial information indicates that [the shooter’s] domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database by the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations.”

Stefanek added that federal law should have prohibited the shooter from buying or possessing firearms after his conviction. Unfortunately, because the conviction was not properly relayed to the appropriate authorities, the shooter was able to pass a background check and purchase weapons through a San Antonio-area sporting goods store.

The tragic lapse in reporting and record-keeping has raised multiple concerns as the same database used to conduct background checks for gun purchases is also utilized by health and child care licensing agencies.

An official close to the investigation alluded to this larger problem by saying, “If you spend 12 months in jail or prison for a criminal offense that is nowhere to be found in state or FBI records, what is anybody supposed to do?”

Texas Requires Background Checks but Loopholes Remain

All federally licensed firearms dealers in Texas must run background checks on customers. In many cases, gun buyers can avoid background checks when they purchase guns from private sellers.

Academy Sports + Outdoors is a licensed firearms dealer.

Get the Help You Deserve While Helping Us Prevent Future Tragedies

If you were injured or lost a loved one in the Sutherland Springs shooting, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys will fight to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries and damages. Together we can shine a light on the failings that allowed this tragedy to occur, and bring about the changes necessary to make sure a similar tragedy never occurs again. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends. If you are unable to make it to one of our offices, we will send an attorney to you.

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