- - Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Imagine, you are in a room with a crazy person. Suddenly, you realize that he or she has a gun. You have two options:

1: You have a gun.

2: You do not have a gun.

If you think the life-or-death scenario above is just hyperbole, consider the events of last week, as worshipers at West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas were attacked by a man wearing a trench coat, fake beard and wig. The man drew his firearm and began firing, killing two innocent churchgoers.

Before the situation could result in any more bloodshed, the perpetrator was put down in seconds by Jack Wilson, a volunteer on the church’s security team. Mr. Wilson and the other members had spent countless hours training for such a situation, praying they would never have to use their defense training in the real world. 

Fortunately, in September 2019, the state of Texas clarified many of its existing statutes on firearm possession, allowing licensed gun owners to carry firearms into places of worship. Imagine how much worse the West Freeway Church of Christ tragedy could have been had this shooting occurred in gun-control-obsessed states like California, New York or Massachusetts instead. Even worse, imagine a world without the protections of the Second Amendment so brilliantly enshrined by our nation’s Founders.

Jeoff Williams, regional director of Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters, “The citizens who were inside that church undoubtedly saved 242 other parishioners.”

As terrifying as it is to admit, the only thing preventing this week from becoming the subject of another tragic mass shooting was the response of a few armed, brave Americans. With the most recent data from the Crime Prevention Center concluding that 94 percent of mass shootings occur in “gun-free” zones, what other evidence do we need? Gun-control advocates would do well to listen to voices of reason like Congressman Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, who had this to say: “I shudder to think what would have transpired had that church been a gun-free zone.”

We cannot simply wave a magic wand and make guns disappear. The West Freeway Church shooter, like the Sutherland Springs and Tuscon shooters, was already legally disallowed from possessing a firearm. Having grown up in Philadelphia — a city determined to strip its people of the right to self-defense — I wish every day that more of our elected leaders (especially on the community level) would wake up to the reality that we simply cannot rid the world of guns, no matter how passionately or relentlessly politicians promise to do so. 

While we can acknowledge the good intentions of those who believe more gun control to be the answer (however misled they may be), the time to recognize the truth is long past due: In such an increasingly dangerous and unpredictable world, the greatest deterrent against the next mass shooting is a good person with a gun.

Cliff Maloney is the president of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL).

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