guns in church texas law concealed carry
A man walks out of the memorial for the victims of a shooting at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
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In 2018, survivors and family members of the Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooting filed suit against Academy Sports + Outdoor for selling the shooter the rifle he used to murder 25 people. The killer, Devin Patrick Kelley, passed the NICS background check conducted during the sale because the Air Force failed to report his criminal record.

Despite the provisions of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, the families justified their lawsuit on the grounds that the killer was a Colorado resident. Colorado bans the sale of “high capacity” magazines and the rifle Kelley purchased — in Texas — came with a 30-round standard magazine.

Here’s the Associated Press’s report . . .

The Texas Supreme Court says survivors and relatives of those killed in a 2017 mass killing at a church can’t sue a sporting goods chain for selling the gunman the rifle used in the attack.

The court on Friday threw out four lawsuits against Academy Sports and Outdoors that alleged a San Antonio-area store negligently sold the gun to Devin Kelley in 2016.

Kelley killed more than two dozen people when he opened fire at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. The 26-year-old then killed himself during a chase after the shooting.

Academy Sports and Outdoors, where the shooter purchased a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle that included a 30-round magazine, had appealed after two lower courts declined to dismiss lawsuits.

The Supreme Court agreed with Academy, and ruled the petitions were prohibited by the U.S. Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The act protects retailers from lawsuits arising from criminal acts by third parties.

The lawsuits said that Kelley provided store clerks with a Colorado ID, and the U.S. Gun Control Act required Academy to comply with Colorado gun laws before approving the purchase. Colorado, however, prohibits the sale of magazines holding more than 14 (sic) rounds, while Academy sold Kelley a rifle that came packaged with a 30-round magazine.

But the court said the sale was legal because the federal law applies only to the sale of firearms, not components.

Shooting survivors and relatives have also sued the U.S. Air Force, which failed to report a domestic violence conviction that would have prohibited Kelley from purchasing a firearm.

Kelley had been found guilty of assaulting his wife and stepson and was dishonorably discharged from the service in 2012, but Air Force officials failed to report the conviction to the FBI background check system despite a requirement to do so.

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46 COMMENTS

  1. Sue the Air Force. A vendor that sells a product that is legal and not defective should never be held liable for the customer’s misuse of said product.

  2. Uh , yeah. Maybe they’d have better luck suing the company that made the bullets? Or the car manufacturer that he drove there in. the shoe store?
    Maybe the church should sue the church, stained glass windows ain’t bullets proof.
    Or hows about we blame the person doing the killing instead of what he used.

      • Careful, you’ll give the gun control zealots ideas. Although they would prefer to feed us feet first into a wood chopper and spray the results over their crowd of supporters.

      • That’s getting closer to the real source of the problem, at least.

        I believe this particular mass murderer was well past the age of maturity (take your pick, we apparently have many now). But for “children” in their mid- to late teens who commit what would normally be felonies … perhaps charging the parents in their stead is something worth considering. If nothing else it might incentivize some of the “parents of the year” to start taking even a mild interest in what their offspring are doing.

        • St, Louis (Ferguson) paid Little Mikie Brown’s parents $1.4million for raising their Defective Citizen. How are you going to “get blood out of a turnip”….aka the parents of Defective Citizens. None of them have a pot to piss in other than what we Productive Citizens have stolen from us by government and given to the parents/Defective Citizens. Maybe put the parents in jail along with their Defective Citizen offspring?? Hell, many of the parents are already in jail. As ole Hank so aptly sang, “It’s a family tradition.” Bought to you by decades of Libturd benevolence.

  3. The government should go after all you beta male cucks who need guns to feel big, tough and virile.

  4. I don’t have detailed knowledge of the wording of the Colorado law, but I’d wager it prohibits the sale or possession of 30 round magazines within the state. Colorado has no authority to ban it’s residents from purchasing or possessing anything outside of it’s jurisdiction. For federal law to expand a state’s authority of it’s residents to apply jurisdiction over non-residents while outside of it’s territory would open up a huge can of worms. Imagine (e.g.) a gas station in Wyoming having to make sure that no one from New Jersey pumps his/her own gas, because it’s illegal in New Jersey.

    • Pretty sure that is the “logic” behind the NYS law awaiting Cuomo’s signature. Make every state liable to follow NY laws.

      • This could also lead to tit for tat between states. The whole point of the commerce clause was to prevent this sort of thing.

        • I get it but when ever did established law stand in the way of the communists’ agenda?

    • Oh well…never blame the murderer. In the Baptist church we attend there are myriads of armed defenders!

    • Exactly. As a Colorado resident, I have bought new magazines with capacities over 15 rounds in other states. I am not allowed to bring them back to Colorado. The same goes for Californians. They can go to Arizona or Nevada and buy ammo and magazines without restrictions, as long as they don’t go back to California.

      • There is nothing in Colorado law saying you can’t buy magazines outside of Colorado and bring them back to Colorado. Also there is nothing against the law about repairing a magazine with a new spring. Additionally, nearly all sheriffs do not enforce the magazine law because it is unenforceable.

  5. Against the USAF; yes. Against Academy; HELL NO.

    If anything Academy should counter-sue against the four idiots for not wearing a weapon to church to provide for their own security. Wearing weapons was actually lawful in Texas then and they should’ve known better and foreseen this coming the same as they allege Academy in every state should know and abide by every mag law in the USA. Stupid idiot gold diggers. Nice to know at least one court in Texas hasn’t succumbed to liberal/leftist ignorance.

  6. WELL DAMN … I wonder if George Floyd’s family would let go of the 27 million settlement if they could just have George back?

  7. This another one of those deflect moments.

    Clearly the Air Force is the one negligent here.

    It is comparable to Illinois putting the blame on IL gun owners because the ISP dropped the ball big time.
    They gave a felon a FOID card, he passed a NICS check and then eventually went on a spree.
    He did time for a felony in another state but somehow Illinois never got that info.
    The ISP knew he was prohibited because the guy later submitted fingerprints and got caught.
    Yet they did nothing except sent a letter. They should have went to his house.
    He killed 5 people, shot 5 cops, all with a gun that the Police should have taken.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora,_Illinois_shooting

    Back to Sutherland Springs Texas:
    He would have killed more people but Stephen Willeford who lived nearby engaged him.
    This what our now POTUS said: “Well, first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying,” Mr. Biden replied, the Daily Wire reported. “Assault weapons are … I wrote the last serious gun control law that was written and was law for 10 years, and it outlawed assault weapons and it outlawed weapons with magazines that had a whole lot of bullets and so you can kill a whole lot of people a lot more quickly.”

    I have never sued anyone but I would be pretty upset if 25 people were murdered in my church.

    I would try and sue Biden for being a jackass and the Air Force for non disclosure.

  8. “The 26-year-old then killed himself during a chase after the shooting.” *

    * after massive blood loss due to being shot twice by a good samaritan, who prevented further loss of life and then began pursuing the 26-year-old with the help of another good samaritan in order to ensure that the shooter was stopped.

    They left out juuuust a little bit…

    • The good samaritan was Stephen Willeford who was a former NRA instructor.
      He shot Kelley twice, once in the leg and once in the upper left torso under his tactical gear.
      TheBiden then said of Willeford:
      “Well, first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying”
      No mention of the loss of life that Willeford likely prevented.
      Kelly only shot 700 rounds in his killing spree.
      Welcome to 2021 and the jackass senile POTUS.

  9. Isn’t a dishonorable discharge the same as a felony? Isn’t that enough to keep you from possessing firearms?

    • Well, golly, we need to draft a stronger worded law that will, absolutely, positively, prevent a determined felon from doing felon things in violation of the weaker worded laws of today…’cause felons are essentially law-abiding people who don’t.

      Seriously, in this case it appears that the USAF is the sole responsible party in that they failed to report the dishonorable discharge through the appropriate channels (FBI – NICS) which would have barred this schmuck from lawfully purchasing / obtaining a firearm.

      • It isn’t the dishonorable discharge, it was his domestic abuse conviction by court martial that needed to be reported.

        • Mark:
          Yeah, but a dishonorable discharge notification would ALSO have prevented the sale.

  10. Magazine capacity means absolutely NOTHING.

    There was a failure here and that was his ability to buy a firearm (any firearm) because of a green lighted NICS check. This is not about Academy or any other gun store or FFL. It’s a failure to report a criminal background causing NICS to say yes. This is a government failure. The left want universal background checks but THIS is a prefect example as to how it will not help accomplish anything…except for maybe a gun registry.

    No one seems to want to deal with the REAL problem. They will just label it as ‘gun violence’.

    • The statistics for nonreporting of military convictions that carry a lifetime firearms prohibition are (or were at the time–Trump tried to fix that) were atrocious. The AF was about a 26% failure rate as I recall, with increasing failures through the other services topping out at over 50% for the Army.

  11. Tbh, this shooting led to the Fix NICS Act, which did largely fix the problem that allowed this killer to get his gun. Though, TBH he could have easily got the same gun from a private party I he had been denied his initial firearm purchase.

    A fix that would make a difference in my mind would be to open up NICS to private transfers, while not requiring any paperwork, and no data retention…

    • No data retention is a wild eyed dream. If there is a paper trail, it never disappears. Just ask the Canucks. The government ordered the destruction of its firearm records by all governmental agencies–but the RCMP somehow “failed” to heed the law, and although this failure has been caught on more than one occasion, nothing has been done to rectify the patent failure to comply with the law. It would be silly to suggest that anything different would happen here.

    • possum:
      Now THAT was uncalled for! There lots of people who were in the Air Force and are, “…able to hit something.” Including yours truly (except for reliably hitting the keys on this keypad).

      • I usually ignore his posts with his “gunm” bs. I shot Expert as an enlisted man in the USAF on both the M1 Carbine, yeah, long time ago and the M16. As a commissioned officer I set the Griffiss AFB all time pistol record with a 398/10X course of fire, 357 revolver. So he knows not of what he speaks.

  12. I would not expect traumatized families or wounded survivors (if any) to have a well reasoned and insightful response to the horror inflicted upon them and their loved ones by a crazy person. Sometimes they do, there have been survivors testify about had they only had a gun they could have saved lives. Mostly though they are much too emotionally compromised to think straight.

    Sue the USAF? Sounds about right. They had a duty under the law and failed in that duty.

    Sue the gun maker or the retailer? That’s just stupid. They obeyed the law. In fact there have been gun makers who obeyed the law and still refused to sell to a person who just seemed “off”. Such as the Tucson killer, he was refused a sale and had to try another gun shop, once he calmed down and presented a normal demeanor.

    On the other hand …..

    Sue the supermarket because all that ice cream and frozen pizza you bought made you fat? Oh, well, yeah, sure, that’s okay. The checkout clerk should have looked at your protruding belly and refused the sale. Isn’t there a Duty of Care involved in retail sales where the seller is expected to know the buyer’s medical history, behavioral problems and possibly ill intent?

    PS: Some sarcasm may have been involved in the above, but alcohol was not a factor.

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