Gun Store Owner Reports Boost in Gun Sales After Texas Church Shooting, Should Parishioners Arm Themselves?
HERNANDO – As loved ones try to make sense of the horrific tragedy that took place at the Sutherland First Baptist Church in Texas on Sunday, the typical post-mass shooting gun control chants seemed to be met with an equal number of Americans who say, “enough is enough, it’s time to arm ourselves.” And that’s what many Hernando County residents said when we asked what they thought of local religious establishments taking measures to have armed staff or parishioners present during services.
Right out of the gate, one of the first responses was to suggest adding metal detectors to church entry ways but one commenter replied, “Metal detectors would only serve to keep law abiding citizens from carrying – do you think a mentally ill person wanting to shoot up the church is going to stop for a metal detector?”
Phillip Merrill says, “We have addressed this issue at our Church and we have a whole team of men that are trained and ready if necessary.”
Within hours that news broke of the Texas shooting, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco stated, “To those who attend churches in Pasco County, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office wants to make you aware that there will be extra patrols at churches throughout the county during services in light of recent events. We want to make it clear that there are NO threats against any church in Pasco County, instead, we are just providing support and peace of mind to our faith based community. For those of you who do see these extra patrols at these churches, there is no reason to be alarmed.”
We asked the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office for a statement and they replied “Having armed staff members or parishioners is a decision only they can make. As always, if any person knows of someone who is acting irrational, particularly with a history similar to that of the alleged shooter in the most recent case, they should notify law enforcement.”
Capt. Rick Hankins of the Brooksville Police Department says, “Firearms carried in the church isn’t anything new. It is no different than carrying in the grocery store or any other locations in the exceptions to the CCW permit rules.”
In typical “Judd” fashion, Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd didn’t hold back when he tweeted, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.” Judd when on to Tweet, “We do active shooter scenario training – call us @ 863-298-6677.”
American Gun and Pawn Store Owner and Hernando County Commissioner, Steve Champion tells RNRF, “If you disarm the people, most will not show up to church! Today we had an influx of people buying guns, specifically to carry at Church! Over the past couple of years four pastors have purchased guns from us. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun!” Steve went on to tell RNRF that just since the Texas Church shooting, several elderly women purchased revolvers from him, specifically to carry in church.
But not everyone is calling to stock up on arms, quite the opposite, according to Josh Horwitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Yesterday Horwitz emailed a statement to RNRF that blamed Domestic Violence for the shooting, rather than mental illness. Horwitz writes, “the suspect in Sunday’s shooting in Sutherland Springs had a history of domestic violence. Unlike mental illness, domestic violence is a good predictor for violence.” The CSGV has now started a “sister organization” called “Disarm Domestic Violence.” The movement is geared towards disarming alleged domestic abuser of having the ability to possess a firearm, however, there are already laws in place that do just that. In Florida, a person convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence can never possess a firearm again. The same rules are in place when a person is accused of domestic violence in civil court, and for the duration that an injunction remains in place, that person cannot possess or purchase firearms.
The only problem with using Domestic Violence laws to strengthen gun laws, according to a panel of Florida Judges, is that upwards of 80% of domestic violence allegations are either false or have no merit. So many worry that anti-gun advocates are using domestic violence as an excuse to take away the gun rights of law abiding citizens.
The gunman, 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley, has a history of violence against his first wife and as a result was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force in 2012. Due to an oversight by the Air Force, records of Kelley’s military criminal history was not disclosed.
Kelley shot and killed 26 people and injured at least 20 more before fleeing the area and taking his own life.
Thanks to two armed bystanders who shot at and pursued Kelley, the gunman was unable to escape and possibly harm additional innocent victims.
The case remains under investigation.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.