Cities Sue Department of Defense Over NICS Reporting Failures

All branches of the service have failed to report crimes to the FBI's NICS system

courtesy Task & Purpose

This was only a matter of time . . . Cities sue Defense Department over reporting to federal background check database

The cities of New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco are suing the Department of Defense for failing to consistently report convictions to a federal database that is checked before firearms purchases.

The lawsuit follows a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, by a lone gunman identified as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley. Kelley’s 2012 court martial conviction for domestic assault while he was in the Air Force was not reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

What’s their motivation — never mind level standing — for filing a suit over a crime that happened in Texas?

In court papers, the cities argue they are entitled to sue, since they “have governmental responsibilities, and conduct essential governmental activities that depend upon the integrity and completeness of the NICS.”

The cities are sure to argue that crimes have been committed in their jurisdictions by people who have legally purchased firearms because of the military’s failure to report their criminal records to the FBI’s NICS system. As The Hill reports, the reporting failures aren’t confined to the Air Force. In fact the records of the other branches of the service are far worse.

Earlier this month, the DOD inspector general reported that the Air Force failed to submit records in approximately 14 percent of its cases, the Navy and Marine Corps failed to submit records in 36 percent of cases and the Army neglected to submit records in 41 percent of cases.

For their part, the DOD is isn’t saying anything about the suit right now. They’re likely battening down the hatches, anticipating that more cities will jump on the bandwagon that New York, Philly and San Fran have gotten rolling.

comments

  1. avatar Ralph says:

    When the states and the feds are battling in court, it’s like a gang war among rival cartels. You can’t hope for one or the other to win, just for maximum internecine warfare.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      I get what you’re saying here, but they’re using our money to fight and laughing all the way home with it no matter what happens.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Eric, they’re going to take our money and use it for their own purposes. What better purpose is there than to tear each other apart?

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          If they tore each other apart to the point that regulatory bodies are excised entirely then sure, but as it is, their fight can only create more problems for all of us.

  2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

    Wait, don’t we need a new NICS fix bill to address this? This lawsuit would indicate that NICS should have already had the info that bill touches on.
    [/sarc]

    I hope this bill is dismissed quickly so as not to waste TOO much taxpayer money.

    Repeal NICS and all infringements.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      NICS isn’t – or shouldn’t-be – the point. It’s the FBI’s database that ought to be the point. A convicted felon who is NOT reported to the FBI is a prohibited-person who will show up in NEITHER:
      – NICS
      – NCIC
      I care less about whether the felon is stopped at an FFL; I care more about whether he is discovered to be a felon-in-possession when stopped by a cop.

      Let’s suppose we wish for an America where every State is Constitutional Carry. A prohibited person crosses paths with a cop, whether by roadside, on a sidewalk, or a domestic incident call. Cop finds a guy with a gun. Great! Exercising his 2A rights! But is he a prohibited person?

      Gee, how is the cop to know? The gun with the gun might be a felon, lunatic, illegal alien. If his name doesn’t show up in NCIC, the cop must presume him to be exercising his 2A rights.

      Some PotG think it’s just great that felons, lunatics and illegal aliens have a natural right to keep and bear arms. However, this is a difficult position to argue vs. the vast majority of voters (and even a majority of gun owners). Whose rights do we want to defend first? Those of us who are NOT felons/crazy/illegal-aliens? Do we think we might get more traction with the argument that we ought to be enforcing felon-in-possession instead of UBC?

      1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

        Unincarcerated felons being denied their civil rights is unconstitutional. Anybody who is not locked up should have all their civil rights, full stop.

        Even from a practical standpoint, by definition a felon committed their first felony at some point. Before that point their rights were fully intact and no UBC or any other infringement would have stopped them from beginning their life of crime.

        Separating people from their civil rights only serves to create an underclass of people that can be harassed and imprisoned at will.

        1. avatar Hank says:

          The point he’s making is it’s an unwinnable position, no matter how justifying it may be to you. The American population and the courts for that matter, just isn’t going to support convicted felons having their rights restored, no matter the charge. A vast majority of both liberals and conservatives in fact AGREE on that. So, why waste precious resources on an impossible battle, that really doesn’t benefit the vast majority of us. I instead, he’s suggesting we divert all this anti gun energy over UBCs, on to something that’s already illegal, felon possenion of handguns. Meanwhile we can continue to focus on much more pressing battles at hand such as national reciprocity and dismantling the NFA. This a long war and we have to pick our battles, on ground we choose. Taking the moral high ground gains us nothing.

        2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          I do understand the position, I just can’t agree with it. Enforcing “prohibited person” infringements harder is making the situation *worse* for a short term gain. They’ll always be back for more infringement, so don’t give an inch.

        3. avatar clst says:

          Are you assuming that all or most felons first crime is committed with a firearm? It would seem there are more people incarcerated for drug law violations than there are for armed offenses.

  3. avatar GS650G says:

    They’re pissed a few scoundrels got past them, that’s a fact.

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    Seems like the best course is to scrap NICS altogether. Ineffective and expensive registries have been shutdown all over. NICS should be as well. I know, gov, you get emotionally attached to things and you’d rather ride the stock down to zero than bail ASAP but that self destructive path does nobody any good.

  5. avatar Anon in Ct says:

    The irony being that these are, in the main, sanctuary cities that seem to believe that they are exempt from some Federal laws.

    1. avatar CWil says:

      That’s exactly what I was going to say

  6. avatar Geoff PR says:

    What relief do they seek?

    If they want the NICS reporting fixed, pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.

    We just so happen to have someone with a phone and a pen ready to sign it…

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Please. Passing a new law will change nothing. The infringement will remain ineffective as long as people are involved.

      1. avatar neiowa says:

        Hey Cpt Clueless. Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 – read it.

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Hey there you lovely and respectful person, I know what he’s referring to. You don’t seem to! 🙂

      2. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “Passing a new law will change nothing.”

        It provides a much-needed legal ‘lever’ to use against *them*.

        When enough of them get dinged infringing our rights, the word will spread…

  7. avatar FedUp says:

    Say, aren’t these the same cities that, back in the 1990s, sued gun makers for making guns?

    “I’m charged with governing a high crime city, so I’ll use city funds to sue somebody else for my failure to govern”

  8. avatar Darkstar says:

    Huh? Why would those cities worry about NICS, not like you can buy a gun there anyway.

    1. avatar Hank says:

      Damn. I think you just outlined the base for the DOD’s defense. They could certainly argue what really failed, is the cities strict gun laws.

  9. avatar W says:

    NYC?
    Does NYC allow the sale of firearms? If they’re not really licensing people, then they aren’t using NICS. If they aren’t using NICS, then they have no standing in the suit.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      San Francisco is also questionable. For a while, the only gun store in town was shut down by (intentionally) excessive regulation (it recently reopened), so it isn’t like people are legally buying guns in SF (much). Moreover, California does its own background check through its own system, only a part of which is NICS (and the reason, the CADOJ has argued, that they need ten days to complete a check). So for SF, both the existence of a harm and proximate cause between NICS’ lack of data and that harm are speculative.

  10. avatar Parnell says:

    What a hoot! Three cities that try their damnedest to deny their citizens guns suing the Feds for not being efficient in clearing gun sales.

  11. avatar Joe R. says:

    This is planned / contrived anti-gun, AND ANTI-MILITARY, garbage from the POS gun-grabbing left.

    Everyone (of consequential intelligence) knows that the U.S. Military holds itself to a higher standard than the society it willingly serves. Internal disciplinary action is rampant for what might not constitute ANY (even minor) Civil Penalty. If you want to ‘open’ the military’s disciplinary records for review by any ahole out there, then someone might need to hunt you.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Say whaaaa? No one is “opening” the records; all that the military has to do is report all felony and certain misdemeanor convictions that result in a lifetime firearms ban under federal law, as is currently required by law. And it’s not like there is no crime in the military. How many military personnel have committed rape and murder? Felony drunk driving with resultant deaths? Thefts of military equipment? Drug dealing? And any other crime one can imagine? Just because it is the military does not mean it is not a microcosm of the society from which it is drawn.

  12. avatar neiowa says:

    Any info on the “failure” rate of NY, CA, NJ? I’ll be these progtard paradises would be as bad or lower.

  13. avatar Bryce says:

    Seems a bit hypocritical for a “Sanctuary city” like NY or SF to sue the feds for not reporting certain information…..

    Maybe the feds should counter-sue for not reporting certain information to ICE…….

  14. avatar Pyratemime says:

    I wonder what the failure to report rate is cor each of those jurisdictions. Cause if they are hitting at or below the DOD average I could see them opening a cannon of worms on themselves.

  15. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    This lawsuit is a joke. These democrat-run cities and states are the ones primarily responsible for not putting mentally ill people into the checks system. Because they believe “the mentally ill have rights”.

    They have been fine with the mentally ill walking around unguarded to do whatever they want to do in public. This includes pushing innocent people onto subway tracks or pushing someone onto a street to be run over or perhaps be stabbed by a mentally ill person with “rights”.

    But you can’t have a CCW to protect yourself against these very sick people.

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