New CFPB Enforcement Head Passed Buck On Charleston Shooter

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In response to reports that Kathy Kraninger’s CFPB has brought on Thomas Ward as its new Enforcement Director related to a gun background check, Allied Progress Director Derek Martin released the following statement:

“Kathy Kraninger is giving a cushy civil-service job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to a Trump political appointee who passed the buck on Dylann Roof, perpetrator of the racist Charleston church shooting in 2015. If Thomas Ward doesn’t think federal gun background investigators are obligated to do their jobs, why should we trust he’ll enforce the law against huge financial firms that cheat innocent consumers?”

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Background check

In Court, Thomas Ward Argued That Gun Background Check Examiners Are Not Bound To Their “Standard Operating Procedures” During A Suit Against The Federal Government Over The “Faulty” Background Check That Allowed Dylann Roof To Purchase The Gun He Used During The Mass Shooting At A Charleston Church.

During A Civil Trial Surrounding The Charleston AME Emanuel Church Shooting, Thomas Ward Argued On Behalf Of The US Department Of Justice That “Standard Operating Procedures” For Federal Gun Background Check Examiners Were Guidance And “Not Binding.”

Dylann Roof Was Able To Obtain The Gun Used In The Charleston Church Massacre “Without A Completed Background Check Because Of Gaps In FBI Databases, Legal Restrictions On How Long The FBI Can Keep Data On Gun Purchasers And Other Breakdowns In The System.” “Dylann Roof got the pistol he used to kill nine people in a historic black church in South Carolina without a completed background check because of gaps in FBI databases, legal restrictions on how long the FBI can keep data on gun purchasers and other breakdowns in the system, according to an internal report obtained by CQ Roll Call.” [Joshua Eaton, “Charleston mass murderer got his gun because of background check gaps, internal report shows,” Roll Call, 10/10/19]

In Court, Thomas Ward, The “Deputy Assistant Attorney General” For The DOJ’s Civil Division, Argued That “The Standard Operating Procedures Are Not Binding. He Said They Are Meant Only As Guidance For Examiners.” “During arguments before the 4th Circuit in May, Thomas Ward, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice's Civil Division, told the judges that the standard operating procedures are not binding. He said they are meant only as guidance for examiners who process about 22,000 inquiries per day and about 8.2 million a year.” [Denise Lavoie, “Appeals court reinstates lawsuit in Charleston church shooting,” The Sumter Item, 08/31/19]

Ward Even Argued That If The Background Check Examiner Had Not Taken Any Action As Prescribed Under The Standard Operating Procedure – In Effect Done Nothing At All – The Government Would Still Not Be Liable. Judge: “Are you saying… if the examiner here simply had not contacted the Sheriff’s office or the West Columbia Police Department, just didn’t do it – so violated the standard operating procedure –  there’s still no liability?” Thomas Ward: “Under discretionary function that would be covered. Meaning, your honor, no liability. The standard operating procedures do not create a mandatory requirement that trumps discretionary function in the 4th Circuit. Full stop.” (Oral Arguments in Felicia Sanders v. USA (21:48), 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 05/07/19]

However, The FBI Ultimately Admitted “That Roof's Drug Possession Arrest In Columbia” Before The Shooting “Should Have Prevented Him From Buying A Gun.” “The FBI has acknowledged that Roof's drug possession arrest in Columbia, weeks before the shooting at AME Emanuel Church should have prevented him from buying a gun. Roof has been sentenced to death for the slayings.” [Denise Lavoie, “Appeals court reinstates lawsuit in Charleston church shooting,” The Sumter Item, 08/31/19]

Ultimately, The 4th Circuit Found That In The Charleston Shooting Case, The Background Check Examiner Had “Failed To Follow A Mandatory Procedure When She Did Not Contact The Arresting Agency” And Declared That A Lawsuit Against The Federal Government Over This Issue Could Proceed.

The 4th Circuit “Found That An Examiner Who Conducted The Background Check” Had “Failed To Follow A Mandatory Procedure When She Did Not Contact The Arresting Agency.” “The 4th Circuit panel found that an examiner who conducted the background check on Roof failed to follow a mandatory procedure when she did not contact the arresting agency.” [Denise Lavoie, “Appeals court reinstates lawsuit in Charleston church shooting,” The Sumter Item, 08/31/19]

The 4th Circuit Court Of Appeals Ultimately Reversed “A Ruling From A Lower Court Judge Who Threw Out” The “Lawsuit Over A Faulty Background Check That Allowed” Dylann Roof “To Buy The Gun He Used To Kill Nine People In A Racist Attack At A Charleston Church.” “A lawsuit over a faulty background check that allowed a South Carolina man to buy the gun he used to kill nine people in a racist attack at a Charleston church was reinstated Friday by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling from a lower court judge who threw out the claims brought by relatives of people killed by Dylann Roof in the 2015 massacre, and by survivors.” [Denise Lavoie, “Appeals court reinstates lawsuit in Charleston church shooting,” The Sumter Item, 08/31/19]

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