After a church security officer shot dead a gunman who killed two during a service, US President Donald Trump on December 31 said that the gun laws in the state of Texas saved lives. Trump tweeted praise for the gun carry laws that enabled a former FBI agent-turned-volunteer security guard shooting on the scene. Sonday's shooting was the latest attack on a house of worship in the US.
Trump in his tweet also praised the parishioners for saving 242 lives. He wrote he was thankful that the entire chaos was contained within 2 seconds. As per a law recently passed in Texas Senate bill 535 which was approved this past September, allows state residents to carry firearms openly in places of worship.
Our prayers are with the families of the victims and the congregation of yesterday’s church attack. It was over in 6 seconds thanks to the brave parishioners who acted to protect 242 fellow worshippers. Lives were saved by these heroes, and Texas laws allowing them to carry arms!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
In a news conference following the shooting, West Freeway Church of Christ Senior Minister Britt Farmer also praised Texas gun law. Likewise, Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, told the media Monday that he hopes the gun law that prevented further carnage at West Freeway Church will end up a model for other churches and states. He added that the law likely saved 'many people in the church'.
Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, was identified as the shooter who opened fire killing Anton 'Tony' Wallace, 64, and Richard White, 67, who also was a volunteer security guard. The attacker has a lengthy criminal record which includes arrests for theft and aggravated assault. Reports mention his ex-wife, who filed a protective order against him in 2012, called him a "religious fanatic" who claimed to be "battling a demon".
Former FBI agent-turned-volunteer security guard Jack Wilson told the media that he returned fire inside West Freeway Church of Christ after the gunman had already shot the two parishioners.
There has been a sharp rise in shootings in the US in recent years. Critics say guns are too readily available and that the laws in Texas are among the most permissible. Earlier at the fall of the session, Democrats demanded that Trump and his Republicans take action to restrict guns. On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the media he would only bring a gun bill to the floor if it had presidential backing, but Trump has given no clear preference.