The Corps has pushed out guidance across the force to help ensure the FBI and law enforcement agencies are properly informed about Marines who may no longer legally be allowed to acquire firearms or ammunition due to legal troubles during their service.
The effort by the Corps is intended to streamline how it informs the FBI and law enforcement agencies about Marines who could pose a risk to society following a deadly November 2017 shooting in Texas by an Air Force veteran, who killed more than two dozen people.
According to the Monday MARADMIN, commanders are responsible for reporting all criminal justice information to the FBI, especially Marines whose legal troubles during their time in the Corps may prohibit them from transferring or purchasing firearms and ammunition.
Commanders, lieutenant colonels and above, are to report to “the servicing LEA [Law Enforcement Agency] within five working days when a service member triggers a prohibition on receipt or possession of firearms or ammunition under the reference,” the MARADMIN reads.
“Triggering actions include NJP [non-judicial punishment] for drug use, administrative separation board results substantiating unlawful drug use, adjudications at Special Court-Martial (SPCM) or General Court-Martial,” the MARADMIN states.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits certain people from possessing a firearm or ammunition which includes: service members who have been hit with a year or more of confinement from a general court-martial, fugitives from the law, drug abusers, those dishonorable discharged or dismissed from the service or persons subject to civilian court-issued restraining order or domestic violence convictions.
According to the MARDMIN, commanders also are required to inform Marines who are prohibited from acquiring firearms via a “written counseling” to ensure the Marine is “properly informed” about the federal law. The counseling is also to ensure those individuals who already possess firearms or ammunition can “make arrangements for lawful disposal of such items.”
The Corps has been working to update its policy since a deadly shooting in Texas by an Air Force veteran spot lighted policy gaps with how the military adequately informs the FBI about veterans who could pose potential risks to society.
On Nov. 5, 2017, Air Force veteran Devin Patrick Kelley shot up a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing more than two dozen people.
But Kelley’s murderous rampage maybe could have been stymied had his history of domestic abuse while he served in the Air Force been properly reported to the FBI.
Kelley spent nearly a year in confinement after being found guilty during a court-martial for domestic abuse.
But because that information was not relayed to appropriate federal law enforcement officials, Kelley was able to pass a background check and purchase firearms.
“This tragedy underscores the vital public safety purpose behind Marine Corps efforts to fully and accurately report CJI [criminal justice information] to the FBI via a servicing Law Enforcement Agency (LEA),” the MARADMIN reads.