It would be more practical to arm law-abiding citizens than pass additional gun control laws, Texas’ attorney general said Monday.
Speaking to Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade regarding the devastating massacre of dozens of parishioners inside a Baptist church in Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton rejected the left’s natural inclination to demonize firearms in the wake of the tragedy.
“There are laws against murder, and this guy violated the laws against murder,” Paxton stated. “So adding some other gun law would not, I don’t think, in any way change this guy’s behavior.”
On Sunday 26-year-old Devin Kelley opened fire on a First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, just southeast of San Antonio, leaving 26 dead and 20 injured.
Kelley had been court-martialed in 2012 for abusing his wife and child, and was dishonorably discharged in 2014, which should have stopped him from being able to purchase firearms under current laws.
“It’s not clear to me that he wasn’t already prevented from having a gun, given his history in the military,” Paxton told Kilmeade, adding that an armed citizen had confronted the shooter and was likely responsible for preventing further carnage.
“What ultimately may have saved some lives is two people that were outside the church that actually had guns that may have slowed this guy down and actually pursued him,” noted Paxton.
The attorney general also asserted an armed citizenry would have a better effect on deterring criminals.
He added: “I would rather arm law-abiding citizens and make sure that they can prevent this from happening as opposed to trying to pass laws that would prevent law-abiding citizens from having guns.”
In an interview with Fox on Sunday, Paxton also defended gun rights as vital to preventing further bloodshed:
“As far as what we can do in the future, I mean, the only thing I know – because you can’t necessarily keep guns out of the hands of people who are going to violate the law – all I can say is that in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have concealed carry. And so if it’s a place where somebody has the ability to carry, there’s always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott in May passed a bill reducing the cost of a concealed carry license from $140 to $40, while also cutting down license renewal fees.