Texas church shooting: Why federal law should have stopped Devin Kelley from buying guns

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 4:31 AM

Who is Devin Patrick Kelley, the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church Shooter

Devin Patrick Kelley shot and killed at least 26 people Sunday at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs near San Antonio. His history of violent crime should have prevented him from being able to purchase an assault-style rifle.

Here’s what we know about how the 26-year-old New Braunfels resident was able to purchase the rifle used in the attack:

>> Texas church shooting: Scenes from home of gunman Devin Patrick Kelley

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1. Assault conviction. While in the Air Force, Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his then-wife and stepchild, whose skull was fractured in the incident. After serving a year in military prison, Kelley was discharged for bad conduct.

>> Devin Patrick Kelley: What we know about Sutherland Springs Baptist Church shooter

2. Background check. Kelley in April 2016 purchased a Ruger AR-556 rifle at an Academy Sports + Outdoors in San Antonio. He should have failed a federal background check during that purchase because of his military record, said former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who in 1995 authored Texas’ concealed handgun license law.

The Air Force, however, failed to report Kelley’s criminal record to the FBI, according to The Associated Press.

>> Texas church shooting: Pastor’s daughter, mother of 3 among victims of shooting

Geoffrey Corn, a professor of military law at the South Texas College of Law Houston, said that based on the offense Kelley was convicted of in military court — an Article 128 family assault charge — he almost certainly would have fallen under the prohibition against felons purchasing or possessing firearms.

Military courts do not classify offenses as misdemeanors or felonies, but an Article 128 conviction in almost all cases would correspond to a felony. Corn said his conviction under military law also should have prohibited him from purchasing body armor.

>> PHOTOS: Dozens dead, wounded in Texas church shooting

3. Systemic failures. The federal background check system also failed to prevent the perpetrators of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech University and the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, from buying guns, Patterson said. The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System should have stopped the shooters in those incidents from getting guns, although for different reasons: Charleston shooter Dylan Roof had a felony drug conviction, and Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho had been deemed mentally ill by a judge.

“What I would suggest is the (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) database is not complete and it’s not updated quickly enough,” Patterson said. “We may very well have a lack of interface between the military convictions and the civilian convictions.”

>> Read more trending news

4. State license denied. Kelley was denied a Texas handgun license, Gov. Greg Abbott said. However, that denial would not have prevented him from purchasing or carrying the assault weapon. That’s because Texas is essentially a “constitutional carry” state when it comes to “long guns,” meaning people can openly carry assault-style rifles without a special permit.

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Florida's economy hits $1 trillion GDP milestone

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 6:44 PM

A beach in Key West, Florida. The state's GDP surpassed $1 trillion dollars, making it as large as some world economies.
Pixabay
A beach in Key West, Florida. The state's GDP surpassed $1 trillion dollars, making it as large as some world economies.(Pixabay)

Florida’s economy hit a new milestone. The state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) topped $1 trillion, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s chief economist announced Friday.

>> Read more trending news 

To put it into perspective, if Florida was an independent country, Florida’s $1 trillion economy would rank as the 17th largest economy in the world – ahead of Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Argentina, officials with the Florida Chamber of Commerce said.

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“This is an historic moment for Florida reaching a record $1 trillion in GDP. By working every day to create private-sector jobs, we’ve been able to increase Florida’s GDP by more than $270 billion – 37 percent – since 2010,” Gov. Rick Scott said.

The FCF said the state is adding about $2.74 billion to the state's gross domestic product each day.

The chamber has launched the "Florida 2030" initiative to address problem areas in the economy, such as the achievement gap in schools and the poverty rate.

“This growth in our economy is good news and reminds us of the positive impact that business, community, philanthropic and elected leaders can have on Florida when we work together toward a common goal of securing Florida’s future,” said Tony Carvajal, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber Foundation.

>> Trending: Florida suspends payment to toll contractor until system is fixed

Despite hitting the $1 trillion mark, there's still room to grow. Economists have long pointed to wage growth as an area in Florida's economy -- and the national economy -- that needs to be addressed in order for continued economic growth.

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Trump-Putin summit: Trump takes Russia's side over intelligence community

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:02 PM
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:02 PM

Vladimir Putin Denies Russian Intervention In 2016 Election At Helsinki Summit

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held their their first stand-alone meeting Monday at a highly anticipated summit in Helsinki, Finland. 

>> COMPLETE COVERAGE: Trump-Putin summit: What people are saying about Trump's commentsJamie Dupree: With Putin, Trump calls Russia probe a ‘disaster’Photos | Jamie Dupree: Russia probe looms over Trump-Putin summit meetingTrump-Putin summit: What time do they meet, where, what will they be talking about?12 Russians indicted: Military officials accused of hacking DNC, stealing voter info | More trending news 

Here are the latest updates:

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Update 7:10 p.m. EDT July 16: Russian President Vladimir Putin again  denied any involvement in meddling in the 2016 presidential election in an interview with Fox News following the Helsinki summit with President Donald Trump.

Trump said during a joint press conference with Putin that he believed the Russian leader when he said Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election, despite the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that it did and that it is still trying to interfere in the upcoming midterms.

Update 5:55 p.m. EDT July 16: Members of President Donald Trump’s own party and even close allies of the president’s have expressed shock and disappointment over Trump’s comments about the U.S. intelligence community and its  conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump called into question that conclusion at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a two hour meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

“I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," Trump said, appearing to take Russia’s side in the matter.

Putin also denied his country meddled in the 2016 election, but he did admit he wanted Trump to win the election. 

"Russia has never interfered in and is not going to interfere in U.S. internal affairs, including the elections," Putin insisted. He even offered to work with the U.S. in an investigation of the election interference.

Close Trump ally and longtime supporter former House Speaker Newt Gingrinch called the president’s comments in Helsinki “a serious mistake” and called on Trump to “clarify”  his statements and  to correct them “immediately.”

Update 5:40 p.m. EDT July 16: Former Democratic presidential nominee  and continued Trump target Hillary Clinton first tweeted a question about the president’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”

Then she answered the question.

“Well, now we know.”

Clinton responding there to the press conference after the summit in which Trump seemingly sided with Putin over the U.S. intelligence community, which has blamed Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Update 5:35 p.m. EDT July 16: Former FBI director James Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump last year, called on “patriots” to “reject the behavior of this president,” following Trump’s comments about the U.S. intelligence community after a summit with Russian President Valdimir Putin. 

Comey has been a vocal critic of Trump since his firing.

Update 5:25 p.m. EDT July 16: In a press conference earlier today, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called President Donald Trump comments about the U.S. intelligence community during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin “shameful.”

“For the president of the United States to side with President Putin against American law enforcement, American defense officials, and American intelligence agencies is thoughtless, dangerous, and weak. The president is  putting himself over our country,” Schumer said in a tweet.

“In the entire history of our country, Americans have never seen a president of the United States support an American adversary the way @realDonaldTrump has supported President Putin,” he said.

Schumer also suggested that Trump’s comments and his seeming support of Russia are a result of Putin holding “damaging information over President Trump.”

Update 5:05 p.m. EDT July 16: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued a statement on President Donald Trump’s comments about believing Vladimir Putin when he said Russia had nothing to do with interfering in the 2016 presidential election, despite the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community.

Like his Senate counterpart, McCarthy also said he stands behind the findings of the intelligence community, The Washington Post reported, citing a statement .

“The intelligence community, including the House Intelligence Committee, has looked extensively into Russian election meddling in the United States. I fully support their findings and their work to hold those responsible to account.”

Update 4:45 p.m. EDT July 16: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just responded to President Donald Trump’s denial of the U.S. intelligence community’s findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election

“I’ve said a number of times and I’ll say it again. The Russians are not our friends and I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community,” McConnell said, according to NBC News. 

Update 4:30 p.m. EDT July 16: President Donald Trump tried to walk back his comments about the U.S. intelligence community Monday at a press conference in Helsinki after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump refused to agree with the U.S. government’s position that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign, instead saying he didn’t “see any reason why” Russia would be involved, despite the indictments handed down Friday against 12 Russian intelligence officers for interference in the election.

Trump tweeted on his way home from the meeting that he has “GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.”

He also tried to explain his comments by saying, again in a tweet, that he was “taking a risk in pursuit of peace.” 

Update 3:22 p.m. EDT July 16: The Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, said via statement that the intelligence community has “been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”

However, Coats’ statement apparently was not cleared by the administration. 

An unidentified White House official told CNN that it was not approved by the White House before Coats released the statement.

Update 1:58 p.m. EDT July 16: House Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement after today’s summit and resulting press conference between Trump and Putin. 

In the statement, Ryan said, “There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world,” USA Today reported

Update 1:02 p.m. EDT July 16: Trump is en route to the airport to board the flight back to Washington, D.C. He spoke with Fox News before departing Helsinki. Fox News also spoke with Putin and will air the interview Monday.

 

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT July 16: When asked to denounce Russian interference in the election, Trump questioned the investigation and where former Secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s computer servers and emails were, instead of condemning Russia.

>>From our Washington Insider Jamie Dupree: With Putin, Trump calls Russia probe a ‘disaster’

 

Putin said that when it comes to the investigation, the only determination of what happened can come from the courts in the democracy, not law enforcement. He also said that he knows how dossiers are made from when he worked in intelligence. He said he will send a formal response to a formal request and hopes that the U.S. will reciprocate.

 

>>Read: Trump-Putin summit: What people are saying about Trump's comments

When Putin was questioned about compromising material the Russian government collected on not only Trump, but also his family, Putin said, that he had heard that the country had allegedly collected compromising material when Trump traveled to Moscow for business. 

Putin said that Trump was in Moscow as a private individual and a businessman and claimed that he didn’t know Trump was in the country. 

 

He then questioned reporters, hypothetically, if they thought he compiled compromising material on every businessman who was there for the economic meetings in 1987. 

 

Trump added that if Russia had any compromising information, it would have been out long ago.

Update 11:35 a.m. EDT July 16: Trump reiterated his stance that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russians, saying that the investigation has strained relationship between the two countries. 

Putin also said that the investigation needs to be guided by facts but not rumors. As for the 12 Russians who were indicted last week, Putin said his country will look into the case.

   

He did cite an extradition treaty that is in full effect since 1999. He said the treaty has specific procedures and that they will have a commission use it as a foundation to question the individuals and send the results to the United States. They can permit official representatives of the United States and allow them to be present at the questioning. They would hope that the U.S. would allow Russian officials question members of U.S. law enforcement and others in other cases.

 

Putin admitted, “I wanted Trump to win because he spoke about normalizing Russian relations,” the Guardian reported.

Update 11:22 a.m. EDT July 16: Trump spoke following Putin’s statement. He says that the relationship between Russia and the U.S. has never been worse up until today’s  summit 

“Even during the tensions of the Cold War, when the world looked much different than it does today, Russia and the US were able to maintain a strong dialogue.”

He said he would rather take a political risk instead of jeopardizing peace.

Trump said asked Putin about Russian involvement in hacking the U.S. elections. Trump said that Putin had an “interesting idea” as to what had happened, but did not go into detail. 

Trump said that he and Putin will be meeting again in the future and said it will be often. 

 

Update 11:12 a.m. EDT July 16: Putin started the news conference with a statement of where the two sides stand in the ever-changing world political structure.

Putin said the bilateral relationship is going though a complicated stage. He said that the Cold War is the thing of the past.  

“Today both Russia and the United States face a whole new set of challenges,” the Guardian reported.

Today’s meeting and the negotiations they worked on are the “first steps for improving this relationship and to restore an acceptable level of trust,” Putin said.

Putin lauded Trump and his administration’s work on easing tensions with North Korea. 

Update 11:07 a.m. EDT July 16: A man who claimed he was a journalist representing the publication, “The Nation,” was removed from the room that is the location of an upcoming news conference between Trump and Putin, CNN reported. It appears that the man was displaying a sign and he was forcibly removed from the room.

The man was later identified as Sam Husseini, an op-ed writer for “The Nation,” CNBC reported. Husseini is also the communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy. The group is a non-profit that suggests using progressive experts as alternative sources for reporters, CNBC reported

He had been given credentials by “The Nation,” The Hill reported.

Husseini held up a sign that read “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty” which was reportedly considered by Russian authorities as a “malicious item,” CNBC reported.

Husseini had been asked earlier to leave the press conference. He had but returned before being dragged out, Mirror reported.

Update 9:34 a.m. EDT July 16: The one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin is apparently over. As CNN releases video of the two sitting down to a meal accompanied by their aides, the Guardian reported. CNN characterized on-air that it as a working lunch between the two leaders and their aides. 

 

The one-on-one was expected to last 90 minutes, but ended up going on for more than two hours. Trump said it was a good start to the summit, The Associated Press reported

  

The first meeting between the two went longer than scheduled also when they talked for more than two hours. At one point first lady Melania Trump interrupted the meeting to try to get them back on schedule. After that interruption, the meeting went on for another hour, The AP reported.

Update 8:56 a.m. EDT July 16: The Russian embassy in the U.S. says Putin wanted to talk about “ways to normalise bilateral relations, as well as current international issues, primarily the situation in Ukraine, Syria and the Korean Peninsula, and the fight against terrorism.”

 

Update 8:39 a.m. EDT July 16: The White House told reporters, including The Guardian, that there will be another bilateral meeting and a joint press conference. It is expected to happen around 4:50 p.m. local time, or around 9:50 a.m. EDT.

Those expected to be in the room during the meeting are: U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman; U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, national security adviser, John Bolton, adviser Fiona Hill and interpreter Marina Gross, The Guardian reported

Update 7:51 a.m. EDT July 16: Trump and Putin are now meeting one-on-one, with translators.

 

Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree tweeted the following key points from their photo op: 

 

Update 7:11 a.m. EDT July 16: Trump and Putin have begun their meeting. Trump opened by congratulating Putin on the World Cup.

>> Watch here

 

Update 6:58 a.m. EDT July 16: Trump has arrived at the Presidential Palace.

 

Update 6:43 a.m. EDT July 16: According to the Guardian, Trump “appears to be trying to make Putin wait.” Trump was supposed to leave his hotel over an hour ago but held off because Putin was running late. Multiple news outlets are speculating that the two leaders are pushing back the schedule as part of a power play.

Update 6 a.m. EDT July 16: Putin’s plane landed in Helsinki just before 6 a.m. EDT, nearly an hour behind schedule.

 

Update 5:32 a.m. EDT July 16: Putin is running about 45 minutes behind schedule and is due to land in Helsinki about 5:47 a.m. EDT, CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell reports.

 

Update 4:22 a.m. EDT July 16: During his breakfast meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Trump said NATO “has never been stronger,” the Guardian reports.

“It was a little bit tough at the beginning, but it turned out to be love,” Trump said

Trump also said of his upcoming meeting with Putin: “We’ll be just fine.”

 

After the breakfast meeting ended, Trump and first lady Melania Trump left the Mäntyniemi Residence.

  

Update 3:11 a.m. EDT July 16: Trump is meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the Mäntyniemi Residence in Helsinki. The two leaders and their advisers reportedly are participating in a “working breakfast.”

 

 

Update 2:26 a.m. EDT July 16: Hours ahead of Monday’s summit, Trump took to Twitter to sound off about the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it,” Trump tweeted. “When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by [FBI agent Peter] Strzok!”

Trump added: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

>> See the tweets here

 

 

The tweets come days after 12 Russian military officers were indicted for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump wasn’t the only person tweeting about the summit. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who ran against Trump in the 2016 presidential election, lashed out at Trump in a tweet Sunday night.

“Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?” she wrote.

>> See the tweet here

 

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Beloved Labrador dies after drinking too much saltwater at Florida beach

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 1:35 PM

Drinking Too Much Saltwater Kills Beloved Dog

O.G. was by Chris Taylor’s side for nearly seven years. 

>> Read more trending news

Taylor and the Labrador bonded almost immediately when they met when he was a 3-month old-puppy, according to WFLA. O.G. helped Taylor between classwork as he attended college to become a teacher.

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"He always wanted to be doing what I was doing," Taylor told WFLA. "He's my family. He's just so goofy and just always excited to see me when I came through the door."

They went to the beach to take a break from schoolwork Monday. Hours later, the problems began. The Labrador started to vomit and experience diarrhea, according to WFLA. On Tuesday, O.G. was lethargic but eating. By Wednesday, things got worse when O.G. suffered a seizure. 

"I saw him last night, and he was convulsing,” Taylor told WFLA. “And I asked if he was in pain, she said, ‘I don't even think he knows where he is.’"

Taylor found out that saltwater can be highly toxic to animals, causing brain damage, seizures and dehydration, veterinarian Katy Meyer told WFLA. She recommends limiting a dog’s exposure at the beach to about two hours, with fresh water breaks in between. 

"Things can come on gradually and you're not aware of how serious things are upfront," Meyer said. "When the brain gets affected, the body is affected.”

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Amazon Prime Day 2018 starts with some glitches

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 3:35 PM

Amazon Prime Day 2018

Amazon Prime Day started at 3 p.m. Eastern time today, but not without some glitches.

>> Read more trending news 

CNBC reported that customers complained of errors on desktop and mobile. According to the outlet, some customers got an error page featuring “dogs of Amazon.” On those pages, a photo of a dog appears with the text, “Sorry. Something went wrong on our end,” “Sorry. We couldn’t find that page,” or a similar error message. The dog photo changes with each refresh. There are more than a dozen dog images.

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Visiting Amazon.com, navigating to the Prime Day page and clicking on “shop all deals,” or “shop deals by interest” led some users to a redirect loop to the “shop all deals” page.

Related: Amazon glitch: Here's how to get on the Amazon Prime site

According to Tech Crunch, direct links to product pages work fine, including direct links to specific products on the Prime Day page. 

Amazon has not commented on the reports about Prime Day site glitches. The Associated Press reported that the extent of the outage is not clear.

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