On December 6, 2023, Shane James carried out a multi-hour shooting spree across Austin and San Antonio, Texas, killing six people, including both of his parents, and injuring three others. Survivors and the families of those who lost their lives are looking for answers. Questions have only become more pressing after it was revealed that James was able to purchase a firearm despite having a violent history that could have stopped the sale.

Three circumstances that could have limited James’ ability to purchase a firearm are:

  1. His discharge from the U.S. military was other-than honorable.
  2. He had on-record mental health crises (including one in August 2023) and a known history of domestic violence.
  3. He had outstanding warrants for unlawfully removing a GPS-equipped ankle monitor that was part of a court order for previous incidents.

Despite these concerning issues, James was able to purchase the firearm he used in the mass shooting from a private seller. Before a firearm can be sold, the customer must be checked via the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (called ‘NICS’) for circumstances that would bar the sale; however, this rule only applies to federally licensed firearms dealers. Private gun sales are permitted in Texas with virtually no governmental oversight and no background check. It is also not known yet if James was included in NICS.

Attorney Jamal Alsaffar Shares His Insight

The Austin American-Statesman published a report about the mass shooting and the cloudy circumstances that allowed James to purchase a firearm despite his violent history. In the report, Attorney Jamal Alsaffar of National Trial Law was asked to share some of his insight. Mr. Alsaffar was lead trial counsel in the Sutherland Springs, Texas mass shooting trial and verdict. And he is currently representing families in the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, and the Allen, Texas, mall shooting. The Austin shooting eerily resembles the Sutherland Springs mass shooting.

“With what is slowly being released about the shooter, it sounds like we're simply living through yet another highly predictable and highly preventable mass shooting in Texas. Just like Sutherland Springs, we have somebody with a known history of domestic violence, known history of bad conduct in the military who then had easy access to firearms and committed a mass shooting,” Attorney Alsaffar discussed with the Austin American-Statesman.

To learn more about this unfolding situation, you can click here to read the full Austin American-Statesman article featuring Attorney Jamal Alsaffar. For any questions about mass shooting lawsuits filed in Texas, you can fill out an online contact form with National Trial Law at any time.