Enforcing current gun laws a step in right direction

The 26 men, women and children massacred in a Texas church last week might be alive today if existing laws on firearms ownership had been obeyed. They were not — and the full extent of government’s failure in that regard is both horrifying and angering many Americans.

Devin Patrick Kelley, who went on a killing spree in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was disqualified from purchasing guns in many ways. Yet none of his misdeeds landed him on the national database used to check the backgrounds of prospective gun buyers.

Kelley was kicked out of the Air Force after spending a year in confinement for assaulting his wife and child. He threatened superior officers. He was caught trying to smuggle guns onto his base.

Kelley was a suspect in a 2013 sexual assault in Texas. In 2012, he was involuntarily committed to a mental institution in New Mexico, but escaped. Police captured and returned him.

In 2014, sheriff’s deputies were called to Kelley’s home to investigate a domestic violence complaint involving a girlfriend.

At least three of Kelley’s offenses should have disqualified him from purchasing a gun.

In the wake of mass shootings, we often hear calls for new limits on gun ownership. Perhaps we ought to try enforcing the ones we have already.