Pillsbury partner Kenneth Taber, who is providing pro bono representation to the cities of New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia in a lawsuit filed last week against the Department of Defense, recently discussed the case on NPR’s Morning Edition.
The cities seek to compel the department and various branches of the U.S. military to properly report data to the FBI on service members who are disqualified from purchasing and possessing firearms. The suit comes in the wake of the Nov. 5, 2017 mass shooting at a Sutherland Springs, Texas church, in which former Air Force member Devin Kelley killed 26 people, despite having been court-martialed for two counts of domestic violence and receiving a Bad Conduct Discharge from the Air Force, which should have disqualified him from buying or possessing guns.
“It turns out that the Kelley case is just the tip of the iceberg,” Taber tells NPR’s Noel King. “We now know from reports from the inspector general of the Department of Defense himself that this is a problem that goes back 20 years and involves thousands upon thousands of instances in which reports that should have been made weren't.”
Taber says the lawsuit aims to achieve oversight by the court system to ensure the reporting requirements are being met.
“We’re hoping that the defendants will agree with us that this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by the courts with judicial supervision and a judicially crafted solution,” he said. “We’ve had two decades without oversight, and the results are clear. The system has failed.”