Officials: Texas gunman is not a license to carry
The authorities hold the press conference about the shooting that left 26 dead in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
At least 26 people were killed Sunday after Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, opened fire on a group of churchgoers at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Spring, Tex.
The attack was the deadliest church shooting in modern U.S. history and the deadliest shooting in the history.
In the light of the event, here is what you need to know about Texas gun laws.
Texas gun law 101
Gun critics argue that Texas gun laws are relatively lax. But Justin Sparks, Firearms Program Attorney by the Texas Law Shield, a legal defense fund, told Fox News on Monday that “Texas is probably the middle of the pack,” adding that “there is not a lot of to prohibit, but there is a lot of supervision.”
“Generally, in Texas, as long as you are under the age  and can the background check, you can buy a gun,” Sparks told Fox News on Monday.
However, a person must be 21 years old before they can buy a gun, ” he said.
Sparks added that there is no special license to purchase a gun in Texas. Indeed, according to the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, “Texas resident, if not otherwise precluded by law, may purchase rifles and shotguns, ammunition, reloading components, or firearms accessories in contiguous states.”
There is also no permit to carry a gun once it is purchased, ” he said. However, a permit is required for the carry of a gun. And thanks to a bill that was passed in the Texas Legislature in 2015, pistol permit holders can now carry their guns openly, Sparks said.
Overall, gun owners can keep firearms in their home, car or place of employment, if the place of employment may be firearms in the building. In order to take out the areas, however, a license is required, Sparks said.
Problems usually arise when “someone goes and buys a gun and not to inquire about where you could wear them, or just leave it out in the open in their car,” he said.
That can’t buy a gun in Texas?
Texas adheres to the federal law when it comes to who can and can’t buy a handgun, Sparks said.
If a person is convicted of a crime, they can’t buy a gun. Firearm distributors who have a Federal Firearm License, or an FLL, you can easily find if someone is convicted of a crime by performing a background check, Sparks said.
Moreover, if a person is under indictment for a “violation that can land you in prison for more than a year,” Sparks said, you can’t have a firearm in Texas.
However, five years after a convicted felon completes his or her sentence, they can own a gun again — if they keep in their house. However, Sparks acknowledged that this Texas law conflicts with federal law– which means that if it’s reported, it can result in that person to arrest.
In addition, those who are considered “mentally unfit” by the state is prohibited by the possession of a gun — a problem that Sparks said: “evolve” within the Texas legislature.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the state is eventually going to be something that requires a disclosure of all mental health records– even if they [gun buyer] were in a private mental health facility,” he said.
Given his background, how did Devin Kelley get a gun?
Kelley previously served in the U.S. air force, but was dismissed in 2014, an air force spokesman confirmed to Fox News on Monday.
He was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and child. He was sentenced to 12 months in remand before getting a bad conduct discharge.
1968 Gun Control Act made it illegal for a licensed firearms dealer to sell a weapon to a person who is in a dishonorable discharge. But because Kelley was discharged on bad behavior, the law was not activated, Adam Winkler, a professor of law and a specialist in American constitutional law at the University of California in Los Angeles, told Fox News on Monday.
Kelley purchased two firearms from two separate Academy Sports + Outdoor shops in San Antonio in 2016 and 2017, respectively, the sporting goods store attached to Fox News in a statement on Monday. One of the purchases was reportedly a Ruger model AR-556 rifle.
“We have also confirmed that both sales were approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). We work together with the police as they investigate further,” the statement reads.
However, Kelley’s domestic violence against should already be enough to prevent him from purchasing a gun, Winkler said — but the air force is not likely to this information to the federal background check system, allowing the purchase to go forward.
“The underlying crime [domestic violence] in and of itself should be enough,” said Winkler.
“But for some reason, the army is still not reporting bad conduct discharges.”
The shooter was also denied a Texas gun license, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on “Fox & Friends” on Monday.
“He was rejected, either because he did not fully answer all the questions that are necessary to a Texas gun permit, or he answered these questions wrong, and that we still do not know,” Abbott said.
The “biggest secret,” said Winkler, is how Kelley was denied a gun permit, but was allowed to purchase a gun from the sporting goods store. But this information is currently unclear.
In addition, Texas authorities confirmed Monday that Kelly does not have a license to carry. However, he had a private security license — often used by armed and unarmed security guards, personal protection officers, private investigators, and more, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
A criminal background check is usually required before someone can receive from a private security license.