It was a little over two years ago now that Devin Patrick Kelley shot and killed 26 people, and wounded 20 more at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Kelley had legally obtained the guns he used in the shooting, but he shouldn’t have had them.
Kelley, a former member of the Air Force, had been convicted of domestic violence and court-martialed. The Air Force failed to report Kelley’s criminal record multiple times. If they had reported him, his info would have been included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, known as NICS, which firearms dealers use before they sell guns to anyone. It was illegal for Kelley to have any guns, but he got them anyway.
Thanks to Texas lawmakers, the Sutherland Springs tragedy wasn’t about to happen again.
Killing Spree cut short by good guys with guns
When a gunman, 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen, a man with a criminal record, started shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ, 6 armed men on the church security team moved right in on him. Kinnunen fired off two rounds, killing one deacon and injuring another member of the security team (who later died). Then a member of the security team, Jack Wilson, took one shot and killed the gunman. Only three shots total were fired and it was over.
Why was the West Freeway Church shooting so different from Sutherland Springs? It all comes down to a pro-gun bill, SB 535.
SB535 allows licensed carry in places of worship
In 2019, Texas governor Greg Abbott signed SB 535, a law allowing licensed gun owners to carry on church premises. The law, along with other new gun laws, took effect one day after the Odessa shooting on August 31, 2019.
The two mass shootings in the summer of 2019 in Odessa and El Paso also prompted Abbot to sign executive orders to better target possible mass shooters and respond to threats.
SB535, with church members willing to carry loaded weapons, cut this gunman’s killing spree very short. It lasted about 5 seconds, and the loss of life, though still terrible and too much, was limited to two rather than the 26 of the Sutherland shooting, thanks to the security team that saved many lives.
Democrats are still calling to disarm law-abiding citizens that want to protect themselves
Democrats like Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke think that people in churches should not be able to defend themselves. Biden even speculated that it is just “irrational” for church members to be armed.
He couldn’t be more wrong. After what happened at the West Freeway Church of Christ, having armed people in the congregation is very rational indeed.
Just months ago, Joe Biden attacked the Governor of Texas for signing a law that allows people to bring guns into places of worship.
Today, Two brave, armed parishioners took down the gunman at the West Freeway Church of Christ.
They saved lives.pic.twitter.com/HlW9ZkKvL2
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) December 30, 2019
Thankfully, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbot, thought it would be wise for church members to be able to attend church services while carrying a gun.
BREAKING: Video shows gunman open fire at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas before being shot dead by armed security; the service was being live-streamed on YouTube pic.twitter.com/58YcB8ODT1
— GrantB911 (@GrantB911) December 29, 2019
Beto still thinks something is clearly wrong
So saddened to hear about another church shooting in Texas, this one in White Settlement near Fort Worth. Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in this country, when it comes to guns is not working. https://t.co/krwcpL1lih
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 29, 2019
The only thing “clearly wrong” is Beto O’Rourke. He should really acknowledge what went right. What Texas has done has clearly made it safer for people in churches that have armed security teams.
Houses of worship should have armed security teams
The machete attack on a Hannukah party in New York on Saturday and the attack on West Freeway Church of Christ should convince us all that places of worship are going to continue to be targeted by malicious killers until they stop seeing them as soft targets.
The West Freeway Church of Christ security team has shown us how to protect ourselves in houses of worship. We send our thoughts and prayers to the families of the West Freeway fallen.
Governor Abbot awards a Medal of Courage to Jack Wilson
Today I presented the Governor’s Medal of Courage to Jack Wilson.
He’s the hero who risked his life to save the lives of others by stopping a gunman in a deadly shooting at a church near Fort Worth.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 13, 2020