Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is receiving three “Pinocchios” from The Washington Post for “misleading” claim about his 2013 gun legislation.
During an interview on Fox News’s “Hannity,” Cruz claimed if the gun legislation he introduced with Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) passed, there is a “good chance” the Sutherland Springs church shooting in Texas in November of 2017 “never would have happened.”
Cruz explained, “The criminal who had committed a felony was ineligible to buy guns. The Obama Air Force never reported his conviction to the background database, and when he tried to illegally buy the gun, his conviction wasn’t there.”
He added, “He was allowed to buy the gun, and he murdered those people. If Grassley-Cruz had passed, they would have prosecuted him. They would’ve put him in jail, and he would have been in a jail cell instead of in that beautiful sanctuary.”
The Post notes Democrats “filibustered it, demanded 60 votes.” The publication called Cruz’s claim “highly misleading.”
The newspaper writes, “The man who committed the 2017 mass shooting in a Texas church, killing 26 and wounding 22, passed federal background checks and was able to purchase firearms because of a string of errors at the Air Force that Cruz’s legislation would not have prevented.”
According to the Post, Democrats and some Republicans advocated for expanding background checks to cover a wider variety of gun sales and banning the sale of some semiautomatic weapons in response to the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
“Amendments aplenty were proposed and defeated. The one from Cruz and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) would have removed the core of the gun bill: the expanded background checks,” the Post explains.
The analysis continues, “The Grassley-Cruz plan instead proposed more prosecutions of gun buyers who falsely stated their criminal histories during the background-check process.”
It would have also reduced penalties for states that failed to hand over records to the FBI’s database for the background checks of those who buy guns, decreased the amount in federal grants to improve states’ reporting efforts, and permitted interstate sale and transport of firearms.
The analysis points out the shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault in a 2012 court-martial. He was then released from the Air Force in 2014.
“Federal law prohibits people convicted of any domestic violence offense from possessing or buying firearms. The state of Texas had denied Kelley’s application for a license to carry a handgun, but one is not needed to buy firearms under state law,” the Post writer adds.
The Air Force missed six opportunities to report Kelly’s conviction to the FBI. The inspector general’s report said, “The USAF’s failure to submit Kelley’s fingerprints and final disposition information allowed Kelley to pass the federally mandated background checks and to purchase four firearms from Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealers.”
Cruz spokesman Steve Guest said the legislation would have “greatly increased the chances that the records for the Sutherland Springs shooter would have been in the NICS system and thus prevented him from buying a gun in the first place.”
The Post argues, “Cruz’s amendment would not have prevented any of the six specific protocol failures at the Air Force that allowed Kelley to slip through the cracks. The record-keeping and reporting changes that Cruz’s office referenced already were being implemented by the Justice Department years before the shooting.”