Document Of The Day

After the murders in Sutherland Springs, Texas by the former airman, the only record you could find about his court martial was a two page summary  The former airman was a prohibited person but the US Air Force neglected to forward the records on to the FBI’s NICS System. As I noted at the time, if he had been charged with this crime in a civilian court not only would his records have been sent to the FBI but it was highly likely that he’d still be in prison.

Thanks to the efforts of David Codrea and attorney Stephen Stamboulieh the Air Force was forced to release the entire 610 page court transcript. Codrea had made a request for it under the Freedom of Information Act but the Air Force and the Department of Justice refused to release it. He sued in US District Court for the District of Columbia with the aid of Stephen Stamboulieh. The suit was filed in January of this year and the Air Force has finally released a record of the trial proceedings.

As Codrea noted in an article about the release:

The refusal to comply with the FOIA, forcing the filing of a complaint to obtain requested documents, points to a desire to cover up a record that shows the Air Force knew his crimes rose to the level of required reporting. (An attached motion alleging “illegal pretrial confinement and punishment” is also something they probably weren’t eager to see come to light).

This was clearly a damaged, a violent, and of relevance, a guilty young man, and as we’ve seen in similar cases, the government knew about him. They nonetheless failed to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, allowing the killer to purchase firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee without the system flagging him.

What this and similar reporting failures acting as catalysts for “Fix NICS” and other legislation fail to account for is that ultimately, being a “prohibited person” cannot stop anyone so inclined from obtaining a gun. If it could, we wouldn’t see regular headlines about “gun violence” from places like Chicago.

I would urge readers to go to Ammoland and read the whole article. Then they should start scanning the trial transcript. It makes for interesting reading.

As a refresher, David Codrea and the late Mike Vanderboegh were the citizen journalists who broke the story on the Obama Administration’s Operation Fast and Furious which allowed firearms to go to Mexican cartels and which resulted in the deaths of two Federal law enforcement officers and untold numbers of Mexican nationals.

He’d Should Have Still Been In Prison

It has been widely reported that the Air Force had erred in not forwarding the conviction for domestic violence of the killer in the Sutherland Springs, TX church murders. The Air Force has acknowledged their error in not forwarding this information for inclusion in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal background check system. If they had done so, the killer – who was legally prohibited from owning a firearm – would never have passed NICS background checks in both Colorado and Texas. There was another error in my estimation as I make clear in my discussion of the potential sentences the killer could have gotten in both the military and civilian courts.

The first document is a record of the killer’s general court martial held at Holloman AFB in New Mexico. It is clearly marked a Crime of Domestic Violence.

If you read this document carefully, the killer pled guilty to two charges of assault and had another five dismissed or withdrawn. This was obviously a plea bargain though there is no mention of it in the document. Later mentions in the press confirm it.

Looking at the Air Force’s Manual for Courts-Martial that was in effect in 2012, Specification 2 meets the UCMJ’s definition of “aggravated assault”. Remember, he hit the child so hard that he fractured his skull according to Col. Don Christensen (USAF-Ret.) who was the prosecutor in the case.

(4) Aggravated assault.
(a) Assault with a dangerous weapon or other
means or force likely to produce death or grievous
bodily harm.

(i) That the accused attempted to do, offered
to do, or did bodily harm to a certain person;

(ii) That the accused did so with a certain
weapon, means, or force;

(iii) That the attempt, offer, or bodily harm
was done with unlawful force or violence; and

(iv) That the weapon, means, or force was
used in a manner likely to produce death or grievous
bodily harm.

(Note: Add any of the following as applicable)
(v) That the weapon was a loaded firearm (vi) That the person was a child under the
age of 16 years.

The manual goes on to add that inflicting grievous bodily injury upon a child under the age of 16 increases the maximum punishment. The sentence for the aggravated assault on the step-son in which he intentionally inflicted grievous bodily injury could have been dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and eight years of confinement. Even if they deemed it a simple assault, he still would have gotten a dishonorable discharge and two years of confinement. He got a bad conduct discharge and one year of confinement.

Let’s compare this to how a civilian court would have defined the crime and what sentence a civilian judge would have imposed. Because I am most familiar with North Carolina law, I’ll use it for my purposes. Other states will have different definitions and different sentencing guidelines.

North Carolina differentiates between “physical injury” and “serious bodily injury”. The former causes great pain and suffering. By contrast, “serious bodily injury” is an injury that “creates a substantial risk of death”, permanent disfigurement, coma, extreme and prolonged pain, etc. I think a reasonable person would agree that a fractured skull is a serious bodily injury.

North Carolina law also differentiates between assaults on adults and those on children. The assault on the former wife which included strangulation (among other things) would be covered by NCGS 14-32.4. It only needs to cause physical injury or pain. That would be treated as a Class H felony.

The more serious charge would be the assault on the child and would be covered by laws detailing child abuse. NCGS 14-318.4.(a3) states:

A parent or any other person providing care to or supervision of a child less than 16
years of age who intentionally inflicts any serious bodily injury to the child or who
intentionally commits an assault upon the child which results in any serious bodily injury to the
child, or which results in permanent or protracted loss or impairment of any mental or
emotional function of the child, is guilty of a Class B2 felony.

Looking at the sentencing guidelines for felonies that were in effect in North Carolina for the time period in question, Specification 1 of the charges against the killer would have been a Class H felony. The presumptive range for incarceration for this charge as a first time offense would be 5 to 6 months in prison. However, it is the charge for the attack on the step-son that brings serious time. It is a Class B2 felony which has a range of 94 to 196 months in prison. The presumptive range is 125 months to 157 months imprisonment. In other words, even if the sentences ran concurrently and he got the absolute minimum sentence for his vicious attack on the child, he would not have gotten out of prison until sometime in 2020.

I have a great respect for the military. My father served 28 years in the Army. Likewise, the Complementary Spouse’s dad, brother, and sister-in-law all were Air Force officers. I have been assured that the Air Force takes child abuse seriously and every base has a Commanders Council on Child Abuse. That said, I think the military justice system failed the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas and the people of the United States. In my opinion, the main goal of this General Court Martial and the attendant sentence was to get rid of an undesirable airman and the quicker the better. The less the Air Force had to deal with him in the future, the better in their (grossly incorrect) estimation.

CCRKBA Says Anti-Gunners Stymied By The Facts

The Citizens’ Committee Right to Keep and Bear Arms issued a statement yesterday regarding the Sutherland Springs church shooting. They say the gun prohibitionists are stymied by the facts given that Stephen Willeford, the nearby hero who shot the killer, used an AR-15 to stop more carnage.

I have to disagree with Alan Gottlieb on this. While rational people would look at the facts and say that the presence of a firearm prevented further bloodshed, the gun prohibitionists ignore facts. They work on emotion and the facts be damned. The fact that Mr. Willeford used an AR-15 was ignored yesterday when Sen. Dianne Feinstein and a coterie of her power and control mad colleagues introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017.

Rational people like thee and me, Alan, and Texas AG Ken Paxton recognize that an armed man using an AR-15 helped to end the killing sooner than later. You can read Alan’s statement on this below:


BELLEVUE, WA – As more facts emerge from the tragic Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooting, gun prohibitionists and their cheerleaders in the media are stymied in their efforts to exploit this case, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.

“The perpetrator’s rampage was stopped by a law abiding citizen, using an AR15-type rifle,” noted CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “The shooter bought his guns at retail and passed background checks because the military failed to forward his criminal records to the National Instant Check System. Now it is being reported that the gunman once escaped from a mental health facility in New Mexico.

“Isn’t it ironic,” he mused, “that a private citizen, who the anti-gunners would prefer to be defenseless, used a rifle that gun control extremists have tried to ban with the claim that such guns do not belong in civilian hands?”

Gottlieb noted that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told two different cable news networks that adding more gun control laws that penalize honest citizens and interfere with their right of self-defense is not the answer.

“We stand in agreement with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who told both MSNBC and Fox News that Kelley had already violated laws against murder, so another gun law would not prevent this from happening,” Gottlieb said. “Sunday’s incident proves that the kind of gun controls advocated by politicians and anti-gun groups would have prevented the heroic actions of Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff, and may have allowed the shooter to continue his rampage.

“Mr. Willeford’s heroic intervention and his pursuit of the wounded madman, with Mr. Langendorff, is exactly what the Second Amendment is about,” Gottlieb observed. “They followed the killer and kept him covered with a semiautomatic rifle until lawmen arrived.

“America is blessed to have men like these,” he said. “But gun control extremists? Not so much.”

Firearm Policy Coalition On The Demands For More Gun Control

The Firearms Policy Coalition released a statement regarding the demand for more gun control following the horrific church shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. They know that these tragedies are used as a pretext for more gun control.

It should be noted that the killer was convicted at a General Court Martial of a crime of domestic violence and had escaped from a mental institution. Both of these made the killer a prohibited person forbidden to own or purchase firearms. However, neither were reported to the FBI NICS database and he went on to buy firearms at retail and “pass” the NICS check.

From the FPC:

SACRAMENTO, CA (November 7, 2017) — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has issued the following statement concerning demands for new gun control following the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas:

We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and grieve for all those affected by the hand of an evil man in Sutherland Springs, Texas; indeed, we mourn for every man, woman, and child lost to unjust violence and unconscionable circumstance wherever and however they may fall.

In the aftermath of the horrific and illegal premeditated killing at the First Baptist Church we see once more, and quite clearly, that only virtuous people bearing arms can effectively respond to those evil or insane people who, devoid of a moral core, take deliberate actions to kill and injure others when they are at their most vulnerable. And, too, such virtuous people are not limited to those in government service; rather, they are found in abundance throughout our great nation, standing as sheepdogs, vigilant for the cause of peace but prepared to defend life if needed, perhaps even at the cost of their own.

In response to tragedy, some predatory politicians and others like them in the billionaire-backed gun control lobby have demanded, disingenuously, that those who advocate for individual freedoms must participate in some “conversation,” as if they are empowered to unilaterally compel their fellow citizens to do as they wish. But as the observant among us know all too well, their latent—and sometimes patent—desire is for no more dialogue to be had at all, simply that the Second Amendment’s core guarantees against government infringement be reduced unto a dead letter.

We believe the only “conversation” that is genuinely pertinent to their efforts is set forth in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which provides the process for lawfully changing the supreme document of our social contract. All other proposals turn on legislation wrought from the tyranny of the majority; administrative rules and regulations to expand their preferred bureaucracy; and lawless rule by now-fashionable ‘pen-and-phone’ executive fiat. As a reminder to all who promote such dangerous instruments to achieve their gun control goals: Any rule crafted to impinge on Second Amendment rights can just as easily be reframed to limit the rights you hold dear; any offense you might employ against individual freedom today will, at some point, become someone else’s incursion on another liberty tomorrow.

If gun control proponents were honest—and they are by no means honest—they would admit what they really want when they demand a dialogue: for freedom advocacy organizations like FPC, and our law-abiding supporters, to concede ground to them on their terms, and with no reciprocation, so that they may more easily red-line fundamental, individual constitutional rights they do not like. We refuse to participate in their squalid process. We have no moral obligation to aid and abet our opposition, whether physical or philosophical, and we will not do so here.

Law-abiding gun owners are not responsible for evil or insane killers who use firearms, just as peaceable Muslims are not responsible for radical Islamic terrorists flying planes into our buildings and killing thousands, slaying hundreds in bomb blasts, or even running over dozens with vehicles. As we have said before, we reject the notion that good people and our basic rights must suffer for the crimes of the wicked.

We know that modern theories of gun control rely on the existence of three essential components to achieve, through force and attrition, the ultimate goal of a disarmed society: registration of people and property in persistent databases (through background checks and sale or transfer records); ever-expanding categories of prohibited people and items; and responsive confiscation of arms through law enforcement efforts. See, for example, California’s firearm regulatory scheme and associated APPS confiscation program or the New York SAFE Act.

In the final analysis, all roads lead to confiscatory laws with criminal consequences. And those who advocate for gun control would see other peoples’ sons and daughters carry the personal risk of their unchained desire to re-create America into the authoritarian utopia they seek.

To be sure, all constitutional rights have social costs, and the Second Amendment is not unique from other fundamental rights in that respect. But those considerations were weighed and the social interests balanced when we ratified the Bill of Rights in 1791 and, perhaps more importantly, upon re-affirming our commitment to those principles for all people in 1868 when we enshrined the Fourteenth Amendment and ensured their application to states and local governments.

Because of inalienable human rights like the individual right to keep and bear arms, protected by the Second Amendment, the news media is free to report on uncomfortable or embarrassing matters of national security; editorialists are free to discuss, even encourage, the removal of a sitting president; and those who promote gun control, even in opposition to the ruling party, have the freedom to advocate for those views.

The right to keep and bear arms, like freedom of speech and the right to due process, is a bright line rule that separates the people from servitude. Our nation’s founders wisely took great pains to protect fundamental rights like those contained in the First and Second Amendments in the very textual threads of our social fabric—not because they are benign, but because they are inherently dangerous and necessary to an enduring free Republic.

We recognize that gun control is one growing front of a still-cold but increasingly bitter war between those who desire a powerful government that has the ability to control its people and those who value freedom and individual liberty. But an armed and prepared citizenry—indeed, the unorganized militia—is the first, and perhaps last, line of defense against the deranged, evil, and tyrannical.

Accordingly, FPC believes that Congress should immediately work to remedy or repeal previously-enacted unconstitutional laws and expand statutory protections for those who would safely and responsibly exercise their right to keep and bear arms inside and outside their homes. Dozens of such bills exist today, and they should be passed and signed into law without further delay.

Firearms Policy Coalition ( is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Tweet Of The Day

I haven’t said anything on my blog about the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. Part of it because there is more and more coming out. Part of it is because I don’t believe in instant analysis. Finally, part is that I spent the whole weekend taking Massad Ayoob’s MAG-20 Classroom – Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement and I am decompressing from that intense experience.

I saw this tweet a bit ago. Former Bush speechwriter David Frum is calling for a lifetime ban on those who “raises a hand against a woman or a child”.

The anti’s are saying some of the stupidest stuff. They are calling for new laws when the laws that would have prevented the church murderer from legally obtaining a firearm were already in place. The problem was that someone in the US Air Force screwed up and didn’t report the results of the general court martial in 2013 to the FBI’s NICS check system. Note that this screw up occurred during the Obama Administration.