Tragedy struck on Sunday, December 29, 2019, when a gunman killed two parishioners at the West Freeway Church of Christ near Tarrant County, Texas.
More bloodshed could have resulted had it not been for the efforts of armed citizens who immediately responded to the assailant. One of them, Jack Wilson, was able to take out the shooter.
“The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church,” Wilson posted on Facebook.
Other parishioners drew out their weapons, but Wilson was the one who was able to neutralize the gunman. Wilson’s heroic actions were well-received by members of the church and Texas political officials.
“We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse,” the church’s Senior Minister Britt Farmer asserted on Sunday. “I’m thankful our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves.”
“The citizens who were inside that church undoubtedly saved 242 other parishioners, and that might get swept aside,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Jeoff Williams stated. “It was miraculous. The true heroes in all this are the people who were sitting in those pews today and responded, the immediate responders … it was truly heroic.”
Texas’ gun laws afford considerable Second Amendment freedoms compared to other states. Although many gun rights activists, like myself, have voiced my displeasure with the Texas legislature’s reluctance to embrace more extensive pro-gun measures, such as constitutional carry, the state still remains relatively friendly to gun owners. In fact, Texas’ current gun laws allowed for an individual like Jack Wilson and other armed law-abiding parishioners to intervene and prevent a possible bloodbath.
Further, a 2017 law championed by former state representative and pro-gun advocate, Matt Rinaldi, allowed churches to have armed volunteer security. Such a law may have played a role in preventing a much larger massacre from taking place, although Texas does allow for churches to set their own policies in determining who gets to carry and who doesn’t.
The killer, Keith Thomas Kinnunen, had an extensive criminal record of aggravated assault, theft, and illegal weapon possession. This incident is a firm reminder that even the most common sense of gun control laws — prohibiting felons from acquiring firearms — will likely not stop evil people from committing heinous acts. Additionally, we need to start talking about criminal justice reforms that keep the most dangerous people away from the rest of society. Regardless, no laws are perfect, and evil will find a way to slip through the cracks. That’s why there must be fallback measures such as personal defense.
Armed citizens like Jack Wilson highlight how law-abiding individuals can be the last line of defense against deranged criminals.