And Kelley's bad-conduct discharge fell just short of that mark because he was charged under a special-court martial and not a general court martial, which is the highest punishment for rape, murder or other serious crimes.
'It seems as though from what we can tell now that the bad conduct discharge was not something that the Department of Defense reported to the NICS,' Anderman said, noting that it is still too early in the investigation to be sure.
Kelley, who served in logistics readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010-2014, was court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assaulting his spouse and his stepson who was left with a fractured skull.
He was confined for twelve months at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in California as punishment, before being released from the military with a bad conduct discharge in 2014.
In Texas, anyone convicted of serious domestic assault is barred from buying a firearm until the fifth anniversary of their release from confinement, while federal law permanently bans domestic abusers from owning a gun, although law generally defers to state.
In this case, Kelley's criminal record should have prevented him from being able to buy a gun until at least 2019.
The Texas church gunman was able to buy firearms despite being court-martialed for domestic abuse, after the Air Force failed to enter his charges into the federal database.
'If those records were not reported then they [NICS] wouldn't have access to them,' Anderman said, noting that the NICS check is the system the gun store used when Kelley purchased the rifle.According to Anderman, the state could have denied Kelley from obtaining that license if they had reason to believe he was not 'capable of exercising sound judgement for the proper use and storage of a handgun'.