Thursday, January 18, 2018

Private Citizens Have a Right to Protect Themselves

ELEANNA DAVOS ’20

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

What happens when mass media censors news in support of a right that left-wing politicians and media outlets have deemed as dangerous? Well, I can tell you for a fact that there have been several occasions where a citizen has utilized their second amendment right to either prevent, stop, or delay the progression of a crime. Unfortunately, leftwing news centers focus on the danger of guns in the hands of illegal gun owners or illegal members of society, and not the beneficial impact gun ownership has on society. I understand the impact gun violence has on the American society, and acknowledge that its often difficult to see what a private citizen’s impact has done during that time. A week and a half ago in in Texas, Devin Kelley opened fire at a Texas church killing at least 26 people during mass. Two strangers stumbled by the First Baptist Church and noticed something strange: Kelley’s SVU parked in front of the church with the driver side door open. Knowing their community very well, they knew something was different and immediately grabbed their firearms, making their way toward the church.

As the strangers approached, they heard gunshots coming from inside the church and they both sprang into action. The identity of one of the armed citizens has remained hidden from the media, but 55-year-old Stephen Willeford has been deemed a hero after shooting Kelley once as he ran out of the church. After, he continued to follow him on the highway. Meanwhile, police had yet to respond to the situation and arrive on scene. Driving 95 miles per hour on the highway, both citizens were in contact with the local police department informing them of their whereabouts with Kelley. Eventually Kelley crashed his truck on the highway and the citizens remained on scene armed, while waiting for police to take him into custody.

Unfortunately, the issue at hand, once again, isn’t the gun, but rather the person himself and the failing system of background checks. Kelley served in the United States Air Force.During his two-year stint he was convicted of two counts of assaulting his thenwife and stepson. He was sentenced in 2012 to 12 months in jail, and hence demoted to the lowest enlisted rank and given a Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD). There was a clear disconnect in communication between the Air Force and the FBI, because the FBI never received documentation of his charges. Had they known, he would have not been able to apply for a license to carry. The only way to fix this issue is by creating an electronic database for gun applications and background checks for the FBI. Each criminal offense should always be placed into the FBI’s database. Effectively, when someone does apply for a license to carry there won’t be an issue of communication between different agencies.

If no change is implemented, there is an element of security that comes with knowing there are private citizens who are ready to protect and help civilians at risk. We need to also acknowledge the fact that there are 2.3 million crimes that are either stopped or prevented from manifesting further, thanks to the help of legalized gun owners who not only protect their own lives but place themselves in front of others, too. This shooting was painful to our country collectively just like every single one is, but I can’t imagine the rampage that would have continued had those two private legally armed citizens not been there to protect their community and utilize their legal gun right in the most admirable and courageous way imaginable.

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