NRA Member Stopped Massacre with AR-15

Stephen Willeford wasn't invited to the recent CNN town hall in which the bloviating coward of Broward, Sheriff Scott Israel (aka Barney Fife), was allowed to browbeat NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch about the evils of guns in general and the AR-15 in general.  Nor was he invited to the White House meeting between President Trump and those affected by mass shootings such as the one at Parkland.

He should have been at both, if only to remind both the grieving and the self-righteous that guns in general and the AR-15 in particular, which has been misrepresented by gun control zealots as an "assault rifle," can be used by good guys to save lives as well as by bad guys to take them.  He is the hero of Sutherland Springs, Texas, who, hearing the sound of gunfire at a nearby church, grabbed the AR-15 he had taught others to use as an NRA instructor and chased down the mass murderer who had shot up the First Baptist Church before he could continue his murder spree elsewhere:

The hero who last November stopped the gunman behind the deadly Texas church massacre said using an AR-15 enabled him to end the bloodshed.  In an emotional interview with CRTV's "Louder With Crowder" on Monday, Stephen Willeford described the gunfight and dramatic car chase that ensued to stop the shooter from slaughtering additional churchgoers.

The former National Rifle Association instructor was home Sunday morning when his daughter told Willeford she had heard gunshots from the nearby Baptist church, prompting him to get his AR-15 rifle from his safe and load a magazine.  He ran to the church and confronted the alleged shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, who fired shots at Willeford.  While taking cover behind a pickup truck, Willeford fired several shots at the gunman, who sped away in his car.

Willeford ran to a truck stopped at a stop sign and asked the driver to help him to stop Kelley, who had a history of domestic violence and had been kicked out of the military.  The two men pursued the gunman, whom [sic] officials say wore tactical gear and a bullet-proof vest, down a nearby highway until the vehicle eventually careened off the side of the road.  When police arrived, Kelley was found dead on the scene with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head as well as two other gunshot wounds – one on his leg and one on his torso.  Officials believe the gunman took his own life.

"If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile," Willeford said.  "I ran out with an AR-15 and that's what he was shooting the place up with."

If a good guy with a gun had been inside the First Baptist Church, instead of outside, the killer could have been blown away.  Texas attorney general Ken Paxton pointed out what should be obvious: that we don't need more unarmed potential victims sitting like sheep, targets in what amounts to a gun-free zone.

Paxton pointed out that there were numerous laws already on the books, including "laws against murder," and the attacker violated those laws without hesitation.  He observed, "So adding some other gun law, I don't think would in any way change this guy's behavior."

He added:

It's not clear to me that [the attacker] wasn't already prevented from having a gun, given his history in the military. What ultimately may have saved some lives is… people that were outside the church that actually had guns that may have slowed this guy down and actually pursued him. So 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.

A good guy with a gun once again stopped a bad guy with a gun, just as a good gal with a gun, Jeanne Assam, stopped a bad guy with a gun.  Many were thankful that Assam, a volunteer security guard at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, had easy access to a gun when Matthew Murray entered the east entrance of the church and began firing his rifle.  Murray was carrying two handguns, an assault rifle, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

Assam, who worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon, shot and killed Murray.  Had she not done so, more than two would have been killed at the church that day.

Banning "scary" weapons like the AR-15 based on their appearance is nonsense.  Other non-scary weapons are just as lethal, and the AR-15 is often the defensive weapon of choice.  Former Navy SEAL Dean Raso is quoted in The Federalist as describing the AR-15 as, in fact, the ideal defensive weapon against heavily armed predators:

In a new video, former Navy SEAL Dom Raso explains why the AR-15, the most popular rifle in the country, gives Americans the best chance of surviving in an age of terror.

Choosing to defend one's home with an AR-15 is a commonsense choice, as it is powerful, accurate, and easy to shoot, Raso said.

Gun control legislation doesn't stop terror attacks, he explained, citing the two terrorists who weren't deterred by California's assault weapons ban when they killed 14 people in San Bernardino last year.  Nor would any gun ban have stopped the Boston Bombers when they detonated a bomb at the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding at least 260 others.

Ironically, both of those incidents of terror were brought to a stop by armed police officers responding to the scene with AR-15s – the same weapon legislators are trying to ban.

"Why would you want to ban the gun you pray for police to show up with?" Raso asked.

Indeed, why would you?  As has been noted, assault is a behavior and not a weapon, and the AR-15, in the hands of someone like NRA member and hero Scott Willeford, is something to be desired and not feared.  The AR-15 is a defensive weapon, such as when it was used by a 15-year-old to ward off home invaders:

Not only did this brave 15-year-old defend his home against 2 burglars, but also his 12-year-old sister who was in the house with him.  He grabbed his father's AR-15 and shot one of the burglars multiple times.  They got away but had to go right to the hospital where the minor was arrested and the adult who was shot was flown to a different hospital.

In the hands of British redcoats, the musket was an assault weapon.  In the hands of a law-abiding American such as NRA member and hero Stephen Willeford, an AR-15 is what the Second Amendment is all about.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

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