Lawful Gun Owners Stopped Texas Church Killer, Who Was Unlawfully Armed
It is doubtful more gun control laws would have stopped the shooter, and instead might have disarmed the men who stopped him.
If two brave men hadn’t exchanged fire with mass murderer Devin Kelley and chased him as he tried to get away, Kelley might have gone on to kill others. Kelley murdered 26 people and wounded 20 others yesterday in a small Texas church.
Stephen Willeford, a 55-year-old plumber, ran from his home near the church barefoot. He exchanged gunfire with the killer, who jumped into his truck and drove awa . He had hit Kelley in the side between his body armor. He told neighbor Johnnie Langendorff what had happened and they chased Kelley about eleven miles. Kelly’s car crashed and he apparently killed himself.
Conservatives saw this as an argument for wider gun ownership. The left promptly called for gun control. But stricter gun control laws wouldn’t have stopped Kelley. He was already legally barred from owning a gun, thanks to his dishonorable discharge from the Air Force.
The Left Demands Gun Control (Of Course)
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., declared, “As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets.” Several leading liberals said the same thing.
But gun laws likely already stopped Kelley from owning a gun. He’d received a “bad conduct” discharge from the military after charges he abused his wife and child led him to be court-martialed. He couldn’t legally buy a gun. Yet somehow he got the Ruger AR-556 rifle he used in the attack — two years after his discharge.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Kelley applied for a gun permit and was rejected. “He was rejected either because he did not fully answer all the questions that are required to get a Texas gun permit, or he answered those questions wrong, that we still don’t know,” he said Monday. “So how did this happen?” he asked.
More Gun Control, More Mayhem
More gun control laws might have made the devastation worse. They could have prevented the two men from stopping Kelley. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton expressed his concern Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He said, “I don’t want to create impediments for law abiding citizens having guns. The people who slowed this guy down were people who had guns.”
Desperate cries for more gun control aren’t going to work politically. After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, there were widespread calls from the usual suspects for more gun control. Barack Obama was in the White House. Democrats controlled the Senate. A bill to reinstate a ban on so-called assault weapons, which had been in force from 1994 to 2004, was soon put to the test in the Senate. It got a mere 40 votes.
It’s sheer folly to think gun control forces will have more luck with a GOP president and Congress.
And even if such a law were passed, it wouldn’t prevent such tragedies. For gun control enthusiasts, this is just an chance for political theater and virtue-signaling.
Rachel Alexander is a Senior Editor of The Stream, and a former gun magazine editor. Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC.