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Judge dismisses Emanuel families' lawsuit over FBI's failed Dylann Roof background check

Emanuel AME Church (FILE)

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the FBI filed by Emanuel AME shooting survivors and families of those killed.

The families and survivors in 2016 sued the FBI for negligence over the failure of its background check system to reveal gunman Dylann Roof's criminal history.

That background check, if completed, would've barred Roof from legally purchasing the handgun he used to murder nine worshipers attending a Bible study at Emanuel AME, June 17, 2015.

In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel dismissed the lawsuit, saying background checkers ultimately followed policy when attempting to retrieve Roof's criminal history, albeit unsuccessfully.

However, Gergel wrote a scathing review of those policies, calling them "nonsense," "outdated," and "hopelessly stuck in 1995," among other criticisms.

“Perhaps the FBI, learning fully the details of the failure of its system in this tragic series of events, will promptly take corrective steps to prevent a similar' failure of the system in the future,” Gergel wrote in his order to dismiss.

Gergel also dismissed the suit because he found the Brady Act, which established mandatory background checks on gun purchases from federally licensed dealers, gives FBI agents immunity from being found negligent in the event of failed background checks.

Gergel notes that while the families ultimately lack legal recourse, Congress could still authorize a special bill to compensate the victims.



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