Texas Denied Handgun License Church Shooter, Says Governor

Law enforcement officials work at the scene of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A man opened fire inside the church in the small South Texas community on Sunday, killing and wounding many. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo: Eric Gay

In multiple interviews on Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the Department of Public Safety (DPS) denied a License to Carry a handgun to the Sutherland Springs church shooter.

During an interview on CBS This Morning, Governor Abbott was asked how the shooter was able to buy an AR-15 in Texas. “Current law, as it exists right now, should have prevented him from being able to get a gun,” Abbott responded. “I can tell you that before he (Devin Patrick Kelley) made this purchase, he tried to get a gun permit in the State of Texas and was denied that permit.”

Abbott was not specific in his answer when asked why the permit was denied. “He was denied a Texas gun permit because of either answers or the lack thereof that were provided in his request to get a Texas gun permit.”

The requirements for obtaining a License to Carry (LTC) a handgun in Texas are more stringent than federal requirements for purchasing a firearm. LTC applications can be denied for a variety of reasons including many misdemeanor convictions that would not preclude eligibility to purchase a firearm.

Texas DPS officials said during a press conference Monday morning that Kelley did not have a License to Carry but did not confirm that he had been denied in an application. Officials confirmed Kelley received a DPS license to work as an unarmed private security guard.

Breitbart Texas reached out to DPS officials to confirm the denial of the LTC application for Kelley. Officials responded they could not confirm the application denial. After sending DPS the governor’s statement about the denial, Breitbart Texas asked why Kelley’s LTC application was denied. The department has not responded to that request.

Regardless of the license status, if Kelley legally purchased the Ruger AR-15 rifle, as ATF agents have stipulated, Texas law would not prevent him from carrying the rifle in his car or openly carrying it on the street. Texas law allows the open carry of rifles and shotguns by individuals lawfully allowed to own the firearms.

“The current system of federal law should have prevented him from being able to make his purchase,” the Texas governor explained. “How that got through the cracks, I don’t have that information but it’s important to understand, these are the types of facts and issues that investigators continue to look into and we will be able to have clear answers to those questions in the coming days.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTXGAB, and Facebook.


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