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Good Guys With Guns And Trucks

In the aftermath of the tragic shooting at the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas two things should be clear to all Americans: The first thing is that only sure defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun; and second is confirmation that Big Government is not the answer to much of anything – especially when it comes to gun control.

It should be lost on no one that what stopped the massacre at the church was not police intervention, but a Sutherland Springs herobrave and aware citizen responding with his own weapon.

This is not to denigrate the police in any way; it is merely to recognize the reality that in an age where the armed citizen is a rarity, waiting for the police to intervene to stop someone bent on murder is a recipe for death – yours or that of someone close to you.

In the case of the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, near Nashville, that killed one person and injured seven others, the killer was confronted not by police, but by usher Robert Engle, who struggled with gunman Emanuel Kidega Samson who shot himself in the fight. Engle then retrieved his own gun from his car and held Kidega at gunpoint until the police arrived.

The New York Times later reported that Kidega’s motive was retaliation for the 2015 Dylan Roof murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

At the Southerland Springs Baptist Church, it was a neighbor, Stephen Willeford, who engaged killer Devin Patrick Kelley and apparently hit him causing him to drop his weapon, and Johnnie Langendorff who let Willeford jump in his truck in pursuit of Kelley, who brought the massacre to an end.

In both cases the first responders were not the police, but ordinary citizens.

It is now being reported that Kelley’s motive for the shooting was to take revenge upon his Christian in-laws, Michelle and Ben Shields, who were congregants of the church. The Shields were not at church that morning, however, Kelley did murder his grandmother-in-law during the attack, multiple friends of the woman told CNN.

Lula Woicinski White, 71, was a devout member of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and was attending services when her granddaughter's husband Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire, killing 26 parishioners, a relative said.

Now, here’s why we think that there is a lesson about big government to be learned from the Southerland Springs Baptist Church attack.

Devin Patrick Kelley, according to all current and proposed gun control laws, shouldn’t have been able to buy or own a gun – any gun.

As a less than honorably discharged service member Kelley should have been denied permission to buy a gun, and as a person convicted of domestic violence Kelley should have been denied permission to buy a gun.

According to Texas Governor Greg Abbott Kelley had been denied a license to carry a gun in Texas, "So how was it that he was able to get a gun? By all the facts that we seem to know, he was not supposed to have access to a gun," Abbott told CNN. "So how did this happen?"

A former airman with the US Air Force, Kelley, received a "bad conduct" discharge from the military after charges of assault against his spouse and child led him to be court-martialed.

Military members dishonorably discharged cannot legally purchase a gun, but Kelley's bad-conduct discharge may have fallen just short of that mark according to BusinessInsider.com.

It's unclear if Kelley's assault charges constituted domestic violence, but such a conviction could have also legally disqualified him from gun ownership claims Business Insider.

But even if the assault charges didn't technically go down as domestic violence, assault alone can be treated as a felony, which should preclude gun ownership. And even if the charges didn't go down as felonies, the twin charges carried a maximum sentence of over a year in prison, and therefore should have preclude gun ownership.

The federal government's firearm transaction record (form 4473), which buyers are required by law to submit under penalty of perjury, asks about felony convictions. Kelley bought a Ruger AR-556 rifle, used in the attack on the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in April of last year from an Academy Sports & Outdoors store in San Antonio, a law-enforcement official told CNN.

Academy Sports & Outdoors has issued a statement saying they conducted the required background check and Kelley passed.

Kelley also had two pistols, which also require background checks, but so far, we have been unable to discover any purchase history on those weapons.

A Department of Justice audit cited by KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station, found that between 2008 and 2015, about 500,000 people were denied the ability to purchase a firearm because they did not clear the background check. Of those individuals, U.S. Attorneys around the country only seriously considered prosecuting about 250 people. KUT reports that the government hardly ever prosecutes these individuals for lying on these forms, but when they do, it is a serious federal offense punishable up to 10 years.

Finally, it is worth noting that churches in Texas are gun-free zones.

Under Texas PC §46.035. UNLAWFUL CARRYING OF HANDGUN BY LICENSE HOLDER.

(b) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed or carried in a shoulder or belt holster, on or about the license holder’s person:

(6) on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship.

Being a gun-free zone, and being populated by peaceful law-abiding worshippers, there was no one at the Southerland Springs Baptist Church to shoot back when Devin Patrick Kelley began his murderous rampage.

Democrats are already trying to politicize this horrible attack by calling for more gun control – except the Big Government steps they are calling for – other than the complete confiscation of all firearms – are already in place.

Our hearts go out to those affected by the killings in Southerland Springs, Texas, but if there are lessons to be learned from this tragedy it is that Big Government solutions, like gun-free zones, don’t protect peaceful law-abiding citizens from killers, and background checks are at best an imperfect defense against a lying killer. The only sure defenses against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun aided perhaps by a selfless stranger with a truck.

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