Common Defense Veterans Sign on Letter with Coalition of 40 Gun Violence Prevention Groups Calling on DOJ to Stop Delaying Justice for Victims of Sutherland Springs Mass Shooting

10/06/2022

The U.S. Justice Department has appealed the ruling awarding victims and survivors of the Sutherland Springs mass shooting for government failure around Brady Background Check system. The coalition urges the government to drop its appeal ahead of the 5-year observance of the shooting on November 5.

WASHINGTON – – Today, October 6th, 2022, Common Defense, the nation’s largest grassroots veteran organization, joins the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence and 40 other partners in demanding the U.S. Department of Justice brings forward justice for the victims and survivors of the 2017 mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 

In 2021, a Federal Court found the U.S. government partially responsible for their knowledge of the shooter’s mental health and violent history. Early this year an appeal sought to overrule these findings would effectively delay justice for the families of 26 people killed and 22 more people injured in this violent attack. The letter delivered to the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, demands that the appeal be dropped. Common Defense stands by the 40 gun safety advocacy groups, as well as, the victims and survivors seeking justice after five years of this horrific attack. The U.S. government and the military failed its duty to act by allowing the perpetrator, a veteran with a severely violent history, to use and buy these weapons. 

Common Defense’s Political Director Naveed Shah, Army veteran, said: 

“Veterans know the extraordinary responsibility of gun ownership. Before military members receive any weapons training, the Department of Defense screens candidates to ensure they are qualified for such a responsibility. When a military member is separated from service with a bad conduct discharge, like the perpetrator in the Sutherland Springs church shooting, the military is supposed to report it. The military’s failure to follow the letter of the law is now being used to delay justice for the victims of the Sutherland Springs tragedy, which is beyond the pale. We must do better, and it is well within the Justice Department’s jurisdiction to do the right thing now.” 

The letter and full list of cosigners is available here.  

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