What the Texas Attack Means for the Military

By Jeff Knox: Opinion

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What the Texas Attack Means for the Military
Jeff Knox
Jeff Knox

Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- The brutal assault on a Baptist church in a small town in Texas is reverberating through the U.S. military, and the results are not going to be pretty.

The murderer who killed 25 worshipers in a Texas church, had previously been found guilty of domestic assault in an Air Force court-martial.

He'd served a year in confinement and received a Bad Conduct discharge from the service. He had also been sent to a mental institution after making threats and trying to smuggle guns onto an Air Force base and was reported to have “escaped” from that facility shortly after that, suggesting that this was an involuntary committal.

What that all adds up to is that this dirtbag should have been prohibited from purchasing a firearm through legal channels. The second assault conviction appears to qualify as a felony for federal gun law purposes, which would make him a “prohibited person.” Even if that conviction didn't rise to the level of a felony, the fact that the victims were his wife and step-son, means that it was a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, which would certainly have made him a prohibited person. The information on the “escape” from the mental institution is sketchy, but if it were indeed an involuntary commitment for mental health reasons, that too would disqualify him under federal law from purchasing or possessing a firearm or ammunition.

Still, on several occasions over the ensuing years, this low-life was able to walk into a gun store, fill out the federal forms – lying about his criminal and mental health history – pass federal background checks, and purchase firearms.

The reason he was able to do this is that the Air Force failed to submit his criminal records to the National Crime Information Center so they would be discovered when the National Instant Background Check System queried that system with his firearm purchase information. The NICS check came back clean, and this guy walked out with the guns.

Of course, this created a mad scramble among the brass at the Air Force, but the panic quickly spread throughout the Pentagon, and soon inspectors general and military auditors were combing through the criminal and mental health records of every service, and forwarding records to the NCIC and other data centers around Washington, D.C. They all knew early on that they had documents that hadn't been adequately reported, and they wanted to be sure that when they were forced to admit that fact, they would also be able to report that they had already begun to rectify the situation.

And these aren't just cases of records not being sent in. There is also a problem with the way the military has been classifying certain crimes, particularly assaults involving domestic partners.

Lautenberg Amendment


Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ-D) (Anti-Gun) (DEAD)
The Lautenberg Amendment named for rabid NJ gun banner, Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ-D) (Now DEAD), still destroys lives.

The problem is that the Lautenberg Amendment, the piece of legislation that added misdemeanor, domestic violence convictions to the list of things that trigger a permanent loss of Second Amendment rights, makes no exceptions for those who must handle firearms in the line of duty, whether in the military or law enforcement. That means that even a minor conviction for a domestic violence charge, doesn't just result in a small fine or extra duty, it is a career ender. Even office workers and computer technicians in the armed forces are required to train, qualify, and re-familiarize with weapons on an annual basis, and if they can't legally do that, they can't serve in the military. The services are required to kick them out.


I recall a case of a young soldier who phoned home from Afghanistan, only to have a man answer the phone, and then hears his new wife describe in detail what that man was doing to her at that moment. Of course things went downhill from there, and at some point the soldier threatened to come home and shoot them both. This error in judgment, like the marriage itself, was a big mistake, as the woman was recording the soldier's end of the conversation. She filed charges against him for threatening her with a weapon. He ended up pleading guilty to that charge and paid a small fine. Then he was kicked out of the Army, and his right to possess a firearm was lost forever.

Many military leaders don't like service members marrying at all, and they certainly don't like losing trained people over momentary lapses during a heated domestic quarrel, so things began being swept under rugs, reclassified, and “lost.”

Now all of those records are being “found,” and a lot of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are going to suddenly find themselves out of a job, perhaps losing retirement benefits, and losing their gun rights, when they thought they had already paid the price for their mistakes.

There won't be much discussion about this aspect of the military record audits in the dominant media. What discussion there is will approach it from the perspective that a “wife-beater” deserves what they get. What no one will talk about is the fact that none of this helps anyone, and it hurts many.

Yes, the cowardly scumbag who murdered all of those people in Texas should have been prohibited from purchasing guns through legal channels, but it is doubtful that such a prohibition would have made a whit of difference. This was an evil, demented person, who had decided that he had been wronged, and deserved revenge – from babies, teenage girls, and little old church ladies. Whether with a gun or a can of gasoline, he was going to get his revenge, and the notoriety that would come with it.

Neal Knox - The Gun Rights War
Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War

Meanwhile, thousands of service members – and their families – will be re-punished for long-past crimes.  Though they were never going to harm anyone outside the line of duty, they will pay an additional price for this scum's heinous crime.

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

  • 29 thoughts on “What the Texas Attack Means for the Military

    1. It so happens that the imposition of controls does npot work. Even an illegal Mexican who has been deported five times could obtain a weapon which was used in the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco. And then he is acquitted? Did controls work or was it only in San Francisco. It is a sadly screwed up situation.

    2. Everybody just remember when the 2020 election rolls around, that Joe Biden said that the guy that shot the killer should not have been carrying that kind of gun. I guess Biden thought guy should have grabbed his sling shot. Biden is considering a run for president and we need to remember this incident if he runs. He is a first class socialist and don’t need more of that thinking.

      1. The Dems have shown the way…The magic number seems to be about eight . Wait till the ballot cannot be changed, hire about eight bimbos (hope that’s not sexist) to accuse him of sexual harassment walla .

    3. Perhaps the problem is larger and more complex, than a lost record or a glitch within the NCIC system? Could
      a breakdown in morals and values, where a person who performs acts that are outside human comprehension be the
      problem? Ascending monsters like the Texas shooter to a position of notoriety and celebrity for committing crimes of
      rape murder, is the problem. Maybe not putting these scum on a pedestal, will vastly diminish these types of crimes.
      No unfortunately it won’t eliminate mass murder, but decrease it’s occurrence? Society should not look for an excuse
      to forgive these monsters, but prevent them from being monsters.

      1. Or, perhaps the real problem is lack of….wait for it…MORALS. We have decided to ignore moral teaching, because it is ”uncool”…we now forbid prayers before a football game, or a baccalaureate service…we have demonized preachers and priests, and we have lionized non-heroic types. So…we should be surprised at this immoral killer? Not sure about that.

        1. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

    4. Funny how it seems NICS is enforced in a way that people who should not be on it get on it and people who should be on it get left off. It’s almost like someone wants people like Evil F***, my name for the Texas Church shooter, to commit atrocities to provide an excuse for more gun control.
      Or maybe I’m just paranoid.

      1. Yea, I too think this way. In my opinion we should study the past, and note the fact that the kind of rulers who have disarmed his people were the evil rulers. Such as NAZI Germany, etc.

    5. Since my original comment won’t be shown, I’ll try this. The Lautenberg Act was just another tool for the socialist tool box. Just as F. Lautenberg himself was a tool in their arsenal, dedicated to destroying freedom. Until happy obtuse gun owners and so called Constitutionalist become enlightened to reality expect more and worse infringements on your freedoms. If you are a gun owner and not a member of the NRA you are a weak sister letting others do your bidding.

    6. If the General Court Martial had sentenced the Sutherland Springs killer to the 8 years that a Sec. 128 allows for a aggravated assault, he’d still be in prison. Checking civilian law in both Washington State and North Carolina, his assault on the child which resulted in a fractured skull would have given him even more time in prison.

      I have read the court martial report and it is obvious that there was a plea bargain. He pled guilty to two charges and had 3 dismissed. Frankly, I think the Air Force just wanted him gone and this was the easiest way to do it. Unfortunately, they foisted their problem on society as a whole.

      1. The Guy was a loose lugnut from the start .
        He would have done something in civilian life to get locked ,
        up or even killed . ( hurt a kid ! go to jail ! Jailhouse justice )
        He should never been in the military in the first place .
        Today’s Military requirements seem to have lost something .
        In my day that type of actions put you behind bars for a long time .
        The Military court did what civil court’s do everyday !
        They got a conviction without a fight.

    7. The Lousenberg Amendment exempts police, and only police, from losing their weapons for a MISDEMEANOR DV conviction. This was done so all the politically-apppointed police chiefs wouldn’t lose their entire departments, and therefore their higher bosses would have a reason not to oppose this proposed law.

      The weakest points are “zero tolerance” and a misdemeanor conviction, regardless of reason. Slam-dunk felonies are one thing, a misdemeanor should have some mechanism for proper adjudication. The only thing to watch out for is a misdemeanor plea as part of a bargaining agreement. This happens all the time in the civilian world, too, for all sorts of crimes where misdemeanor pleas are encouraged to prevent a public trial, when more evidence, and dirt, comes out under oath, where neither side might not look very good.

      The military, and probably civilian agencies, too, came up with their own system of “informal adjudication”, based on “don’t-ask-don’t tell”. This particular POS should have been court martialed years earlier. He wasn’t a protected minority, so I can’t see a reason to keep him around, except for sheer institutional laziness.

      I would start the investigation by ordered the chief JAG officers to testify UNDER OATH in public session. The public needs to see how all three branches of the federal government tried to take the “informal” easy way out, at the cost of innocent lives. Don’t let them get away with “ban assault weapons and 30-round magazines”. The problem is far deeper than another half-assed gimmick.

    8. How about we all get out a dictionary, especially Mr. Knox, and look up the words SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED and then in the context of the 2nd amendment apply them to the meaning. ALL of this gooberment crap about the 2nd amendment is a VIOLATION. A murderer obtained a firearm. What a BIG surprise. And you stated he obtained them through “legal” channels. So I guess Armslist or a gun show would be what? An “illegal” channel? Maybe stolen ones out of the trunk of some gang banger might be illegal, but so far private sales aren’t.

      And if this scum bag was dead set on killing people for who knows what reason…he could have used a semi and killed everyone in the building. He could have barred the doors and burned the place down on them. He could have tossed a good sized pipe bomb in the place and they would still be cleaning up body parts…

      SERIOUSLY? All these INFRINGEMENTS on our UNALIENABLE rights need to go away. PERIOD. SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED…HELLO? Any body awake in there? Every time I fill out a 4473 form and read the prohibitions I cringed. Because “they” can keep adding to them and by making everything into a felony effectively create back door gun prohibition. I can live in a STATE that has legalized marijuana but if I use it under STATE law I’m according to our masters in DC not allowed to own a firearm to protect myself or family?

      Soon jay walking at certain hours will be a “felony”. And then ALL hours. The Founding Fathers considered a felony to be a HEINOUS crime and even they didn’t infringe on the rights of ex felons right to defend themselves from AGGRESSION. Up until 1968 a “felon” could have been incarcerated and had a gun on his person when it happened and it would have been returned to him upon his release from prison. But NOW we are saddled with the NEW and IMPROVED never voted on, never agreed upon 2nd amendment…

      The NEW Second Amendment of the amended US Bill of Rights… (sorry, we no longer follow “proper procedure” for amending these pain in the rear listed rights)
      A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed EXCEPT:
      You are buying the firearms for yourself.
      EXCEPT: you want to open a gun store within 500 feet of a residential area.
      EXCEPT: you are carrying within 1000 feet of a school.
      EXCEPT: you are under indictment or information for a felony for which the judge could imprison you for more then one year.
      EXCEPT: you have been convicted of a felony or any other crime for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more then one year, even if you received a shorter sentence including probation.
      EXCEPT: you are a fugitive from “justice”
      EXCEPT: you are an “unlawful” user of or addicted to marijuana or any depressant,stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance.
      EXCEPT: you have ever been “adjudicated” mentally defective or you have ever been committed to a mental institution.
      EXCEPT: you were dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
      EXCEPT: you are subject to a restraining order restraining you from harassing, stalking or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner.
      EXCEPT: you have been convicted in a court of a MISDEMEANOR crime of domestic violence.
      EXCEPT: you have ever renounced your “United States” citizenship
      EXCEPT: you are an illegal alien
      EXCEPT: the firearm fires more then one round with the pull of the trigger
      EXCEPT: the firearms doesn’t have a vertical grip attached if it is a pistol
      EXCEPT: the barrel on a shotgun is not shorter then 18″
      EXCEPT: for sound suppressors
      EXCEPT: the rifle has a barrel no shorter then 16″. (It used to be 18″, but we accidentally sold some 16″ carbines to the public so we had to fix this and so we shortened the length to 16″ to cover our screw up.)
      EXCEPT: if it is a pistol there is no shoulder stock attached.
      EXCEPT: you carry it concealed, with a permit, which of course we issue and charge you for.
      EXCEPT: it has a magazine that can contain more then 10 rounds
      EXCEPT: the magazine is removable
      EXCEPT: it is black and looks scary
      EXCEPT EXCEPT EXCEPT…stay tuned for updated version. We the psychopaths who own you have now concluded that this new 2nd amendment is in force and effect and that you have no rights guaranteed by ANYTHING UNLESS you are in the “big club” which of course you are NOT. So screw your rights. We are in control of your television set, your phone, your computer, your air, your water and especially your pretend rights. Oh, and by the way, just in case you are wondering…we have ENFORCERS for this who are willing to shoot your children in the back, your wife in the head, burn down your church with 17 children inside just in case you think we are kidding.
      One other thing…none of these exceptions apply to us. We are allowed to have whatever we want to kill you and maim you any time we want for whatever excuse we want. Just take a look at some of the wonderful things WE get to have by looking up Dillon Aero on YouTube.

      1. What, exactly, is your problem? Jeff reported on the law as it stands not as pie in the sky, we wish it was or should have always been. He’s written numerous columns on why repeal of laws is the best way to go and certainly doesn’t need you sitting at a keyboard criticizing him. Speaking of which, while Jeff has been speaking, organizing, attending conferences and trying to either modify existing legislation or eliminate it for decades what have YOU been doing except sitting back at your computer whining and complaining because people like him aren’t doing enough?

        Let’s see your resume on the RKBA before you start criticizing someone else.

        1. Vanns40, sometimes a fella just feels like blowing off some pent up steam. And that’s not a bad thing, And sometimes that steam contains some truth, and that’s not a bad thing either. Of course I think everyone should have the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    9. This is a great article. I do know personally a young man who was committed while in college after a discussion with a counselor. He had suffered from depression an did seek help. 8 hours later he was committed, after being taken into police custody for his own protection. He had not made a threat to anyone, only spoke of his lack of a will to live. To be sure, he thought he was seeking help from a professional and it was the right thing to do. He considered it voluntary, they thought it involuntary. No charge, no trial, short story is he can no longer have access too or possess firearms, this happened in Virginia. I know Police officers who lost their careers over this law. Did it make anyone safer, will it make our military better, only for our enemies and criminals who prey on the weak. It’s simple really, our Constitution is being eaten by illegal self serving laws and political hacks such as Lautenberg was and his angry Constitution hating cronies. It’s a disease, it is spreading like a plague. How long until people with any emotional issues at all cease to seek help in fear of being isolated or branded unfit. Hitler did the same thing, isolated the emotionally troubled, eventually to include race exclusion as a deterrent to crime and social upheaval. And much better to promote his perverted ” master plan “, just as the socialist liberal agenda is doing today. This is not about finding and helping the emotionally sick, this is about adjusting the laws to fit the narrative and to better classify who they will. The shooter in Texas was a violent unreported person. A young soldier speaking in a flash of anger or a depressed college student are completely different circumstances.

    10. ALCON,

      Not a week goes by I don’t read a reference to “criminals” and firearms. Well….WHO defines “criminal” ? There are so many violations of the CON-stitution by “laws” of legislatures and alphabet agency scoundrels that each and every one of us can be classified as a “criminal”.

      The argument that criminals should be denied the right to own private property, firearms, is music to Dianne Feinstein and most every weasel’s ears, on Capitol Hill. Why ? Because fUSA citizens today are committing crimes everyday courtesy of both stategov & fedgov scum. There are so many laws & regulations in Amerika today, that it has been stated that every citizen unknowingly commits 3 felonies a day, every day.

    11. Google Atascadero State Hospital.

      Background checks do not find the ex con in San Diego using my ID. Commercial websites did,

    12. While bad things happen to good people all the time, you cannot choose which laws to obey or ignore. GET THE LAW CHANGED. Don’t make exceptions or exemptions, change the law. It’s about time all of Congress represents the people and not the special interest or minority groups. Keep voting them out until you get the right people in place. Right now, you have liars, rapists, thieves and assorted criminals in Congress and they excuse themselves with numerous reasons.

      This is unacceptable.

      1. @Al, Yes, but Congress has been corrupt since before we were the United States. Simply voting one out and a different person in has never been sufficient. We the People need new and harsher controls on our employees.

      2. You say, “you cannot choose which laws to obey or ignore.” Laws are like commands from military superiors. They are to be “obeyed” unless they are illegal or immoral. Now a law which for no good reason forces me to leave myself and or my family unable to ward off an assault is in my view an immoral law. Fortunately, in my state this isn’t an issue and when I went to Hawaii I chose to take my chances being unarmed. Spent eight days on Maui and the Big Island in September and never felt in danger for one second. Like they say, “There’s no hate in the 808.”

    13. Part of the problem with Lautenberg is that it has no provision for time. It also has no provision for state differences or the seriousness of the original charge. Treating one time misdemeanors– he/she pushed me– the same as felonies is preposterous. And, if there are children, courts will usually find the man guilty because of the bias toward mothers, even if the wife threatened the husband with a butcher knife.

      All misdemeanor convictions should be expunged after a period of time. And Lautenberg should not be used to look back to years before it was enacted. There should also be an affordable way to appeal any loss of constitutional rights such as resultsp from Lautenberg.

    14. The Laughtenberg amendment never was Constitutional as it does not differentiate between pre and post amendment violations. Just another example of knowingly ignoring the Constitution and getting their way as long as possible.

    15. Let me start out by saying I am in agreement with you on most of your statements of opinion. The facts are a little cloudy. First, mental institutions don’t exist anymore. Neither do loony bins, insane asylums or crazy houses. Second, a person can be held for 24-72 hours for observation without being formally committed. Second, even if you are (voluntarily) committed, once you have completed your treatment, your firearms are returned to you. The only reason one would be considered a prohibited possessor is if they were court ordered (involuntary) to treatment. That is, if the courts report it. Third, misdemeanor DV is usually dropped to a lesser charge if the individual is a first time offender and completes the terms of diversion, at least in AZ. I can’t speak to the military rules.
      As a person who lives with mental illness, I am tired of mental illness getting the blame or at least the implication of blame for mass shootings. They have done nothing to improve care or access to services. There is no cure waiting to be approved. Keeping guns out of the hands of folks with mental health issues is not a difficult task. Most of the people with severe debilitating illnesses are in care facilities where weapons are prohibited. Those of us who live typical lives are not a risk to society.
      As far as keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, not going to happen. There may be a handful of sales that are prohibited but most people will find a way to get what they want legally or otherwise.
      My question to you is what now? No cure for mental illness and no realistic way to keep prohibited possessors from obtaining guns. So what now? As long as the focus of preventing the next mass killing is in these 2 issues, nothing changes. We have witnessed that over the past decade. The only thing that has changed in the past 10 years is that there are more mass killings.
      It is time to start discussing practical strategies to prevent tragedy that don’t involve infringing on people’s rights, mine included.
      I am asking again, what now?

      1. Remove any restrictions on the individual right to keep and bear arms in nearly all places. Only recently did Texas allow ANYONE to carry their personal weapon in church, so recently a long established smaller congregation like the one attacked were probably just cruising on the way things were two years back. Thus NO ONE inside that building was armed. I know of a number of congregations in other states where carry in chruches has never ben prohibited, and if anyone wiht evil intent starts shooting innocents, they’ll get their second victim. Same wih concerts….. that Las Vegas shooting was clearly enaled by the venue being gun free.. reports of active shooters on the floor of the show indicate SOME people had guns in there, just not the right ones. WHY not, at security checkin, when they frisk everyone for contraband, if a guy’s got his piece on his hip, flash your Monterh May I Card and walk on in. The old saw is accurate.. when guns are prohibited, only the prohibited will have them. In the hotel room, flicker house, curhc house, restaurant, bar, concert, football game, bank, opera house, post office (YES, the USPS has no business declaring my legally possessed and carried handgun on my hip when I go and check my PO box or mail a package…….. ) city bus, Amtrak, Greyhound, and I’ll even say the comercial airliners. If I’ve been vetted, inspected, checked, examined, tested, paid the mordita, etc as (unconstitutionial) preconditions to getting my Mother May I Card to carry, then I SHOULD be qualified to carry that thing anywhere. Yes, anywhere. Even inside the cop shop or courtroom.

        These nastyshootings will only stop or nearly stop when the pricetag of for the attempt will predictably result in the death of the perp and no more than one victim. Because there will be so many armed and skilled honest citizens any attempt will fail. THen we’ll be taling of the eedjit who tried to shoot up a church full of people and never got his second round out the pipe before he was hit and taken down

      2. In the old West, unless there was a “wanted” poster out on you, it was assumed that you had done your time, and had all your rights restored, if you were walking around free. The prison gave you your weapons back on your way out of the gate. Now, there are people walking around free, but are under various restrictions concerning the. 2A.

        That’s why the NICS database, which is, at best, 90% accurate. Like the “no-fly” list, 90% is considered “close enough for government work”. That same 90% accuracy would get you fired from a civilian job, even if you were just tracking the widgets your company made. And there is no mechanism to even see your own records, much less get errors corrected. Unless someone high enough in the government knows a phone number to call to get things corrected outside of a formal mechanism that should apply to anyone.

        The 4473 requires you to testify against yourself, and asks “have you EVER”, even on minor matters that were later expunged. The NICS operator can see the conviction,and expungement, assuming the final disposition was reported, too. Yes, you are now legal, but you must testify “have you EVER”, never mind a later change in your favor, in legal status. Without ever being allowed to see what your online record says, you can then petition someone in the DOJ to MAYBE update what’s in the file you can never see.

        Try to accomplish this, and watch how many government paper-pushers know how this works, or even gives a damn. The “no fly” list is worse, because it can vacuum-up data from anywhere, and there is no appeal for incorrect data, unless you know someone REALLY high in the government who knows magic names and phone numbers.

        The law is just window-dressing, and even then it is not run properly. That’s why 100,000 known perjuries per year were ignored in the Obama years.

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