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Three major U.S. cities on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the Pentagon to address a "clearly broken system" that they contend allowed a former Air Force serviceman to buy a gun and kill 26 people in a Texas church in November.

New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco seek to have the Defense Department (DOD) "fulfill their long-standing legal obligation to report all service members disqualified from purchasing and possessing firearms to the FBI's national background check system," according to a statement from the law firm filing the case.

Law enforcement officials in all three cities "regularly rely upon the integrity of the FBI's background check system," the attorneys write.

The case was brought after Devin Kelley opened fire Nov. 5 at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people.

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