The lapses could allow people to puchase weapons illegally. From 2015 to 2016, the Pentagon Inspector General says the services did not submit 601, or 24 percent, of required 2,502 fingerprint reports on those convicted of serious crimes.
Military law enforcement officials failed to submit fingerprint reports to the FBI in one out of four cases over a two-year period in which troops had been convicted of serious crimes, potentially allowing them to purchase weapons illegally, says the Pentagon Inspector General, USA Today reports. The military services are required to submit so-called “fingerprint cards” to the FBI’s Next Generation Database. From 2015 through 2016, the inspector general found that the services did not submit 601, or 24 percent, of the required 2,502 fingerprint reports. Failing to do so, the report notes, “can allow someone to purchase a weapon who should not, hinder criminal investigations, and potentially impact law enforcement and national security interests.”
The Air Force has acknowledged that it had failed to notify the FBI of the court martial of Devin Kelley, the former airman who killed 26 people last month during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Tx. Such a notification would have barred him from legally buying the weapon he purchased in 2016 and used in the attack. Fingerprint reports are used by the FBI’s Next Generation Identification database, a system for storing, comparing, and exchanging fingerprint data and criminal history information for law enforcement purposes. The military also failed to transfer final disposition reports of the 780 convicted service members to the FBI.