Geoffrey Corn, a professor of military law at the South Texas College of Law Houston, said that based on the offense Kelley was convicted of in military court — an Article 128 family assault charge — he almost certainly would have fallen under the prohibition against felons purchasing or possessing firearms.
Military courts do not classify offenses as misdemeanors or felonies, but an Article 128 conviction in almost all cases would correspond to a felony. Corn said his conviction under military law also should have prohibited him from purchasing body armor.
3. Systemic failures. The federal background check system also failed to prevent the perpetrators of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech University and the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, from buying guns, Patterson said. The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System should have stopped the shooters in those incidents from getting guns, although for different reasons: Charleston shooter Dylan Roof had a felony drug conviction, and Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho had been deemed mentally ill by a judge.
“What I would suggest is the (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) database is not complete and it’s not updated quickly enough,” Patterson said. “We may very well have a lack of interface between the military convictions and the civilian convictions.”
4. State license denied. Kelley was denied a Texas handgun license, Gov. Greg Abbott said. However, that denial would not have prevented him from purchasing or carrying the assault weapon. That's because Texas is essentially a "constitutional carry" state when it comes to "long guns," meaning people can openly carry assault-style rifles without a special permit.