We are all heartbroken by the attack in Sutherland Springs, Texas. We are all heartbroken each time fellow Americans are murdered in senseless acts of violence. Here, we can all agree.
The question is, “What can we do to prevent future tragedies?”
Gun control advocates insist there are only two options: either we (1) restrict gun rights for all Americans or (2) do nothing. No one wants to “do nothing” and we all want to prevent future tragedies, so this false choice is a convenient narrative because it presents the anti-gun agenda as the only viable option.
Its true that we cannot afford to aimlessly wait for the next tragedy, and neither should we trample the Constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. We need a third option. Conveniently ignored by the mainstream media, that third option is right in front of us,
The death toll in Sutherland Springs was terrible. And, it would have been even worse had the attacker, Devin Kelley, not made a critical mistake: carrying out his attack in Texas — a state that loves the 2nd Amendment almost as much as we do here in Maine.
Sitting in his home, Stephen Willeford, a former NRA instructor, heard the shots ringing out, grabbed his AR-15 rifle and ran to protect his neighbors. When he confronted the attacker, Kelley began firing at him. After taking cover, Mr. Willeford returned fire and forced Kelley to flee in his pickup truck. Willeford and a driver pursued him down the highway until Kelley’s vehicle ran off the road. Cornered and defeated, Devin Kelley took his own life.
There are plenty of gun control policies on the books that should have stopped Devin Kelley, but didn’t. With a past domestic violence conviction, Kelley shouldn’t have been able to own a gun — but he acquired one anyway. The church was also a gun free zone where firearms are prohibited — but Kelley didn’t care.
Innocent Americans paid the price when gun control failed to stop Devin Kelley. Instead, Stephen Willeford — a trained, law-abiding citizen with an AR-15 — stopped Devin Kelley.
I want more Stephen Williford’s in my community protecting me, my friends, my fiancé and the family we hope to have one day. And as a trained gun owner and concealed carry permit holder myself, should I ever be so tested, I hope I’m capable of half Mr. Willeford’s courage. But gun control policies — aimed at disarming those who seek to harm others — miss their targets.
Criminals intent on killing don’t care what laws we pass. Murder is already against the law and that isn’t stopping them. Instead, these gun control policies hit law-abiding citizens, erecting barriers for those who would use firearms for defensive purposes.
Senator Angus King recently announced his support for a new gun control policy to ban so-called “high-capacity magazines,” suggesting that people don’t need more than five rounds at a time for hunting. Not only would Senator King’s policy fail to prevent the next attack (as determined criminals will always have access to black markets), but it would disarm heroes like Stephen Willeford who would have found himself out-gunned.
Our answer to tragedies must not be to do nothing. Neither should we trample our Constitutional rights. When 92% of all mass shooting take place in gun free zones (according to the Crime Prevention Research Center), the solution is not more gun control, but less.
We hear again and again from gun control advocates that there are only two options: surrender the 2nd Amendment or do nothing. They are wrong. We have a third option — one that will actually save lives: repealing the failed anti-gun policies they have put in place around us.
Let’s eliminate “gun free zones” that turn innocent Americans into unarmed victims. Let’s dispense with ignorant policies that prohibit firearms based on how scary they look. And let us pass nationwide constitutional carry so we can empower law-abiding citizens to defend themselves again.
Gun control will not save us. That’s what the 2nd Amendment is for.