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PanAm Podcast: Would Gun Control Have Prevented Texas Church Massacre?

By: David Unsworth - @LatinAmerUpdate - Nov 10, 2017, 1:14 pm

This weekend America suffered the worst mass shooting in a house of worship in its history. 26 year old Devin Kelley targeted the church of his estranged wife, killing 26 and injuring 20. As he exited the church, an NRA member shot him twice, and then pursued him on a high-speed chase, which led Kelley to crash his vehicle.

Kelley had a turbulent and violent past, involving an incident in which he assaulted his wife and fractured his infant stepson’s skull. This led to his discharge from the Air Force, but due to a bureaucratic error, his violent record was never entered into a federal database, which would have precluded his purchase of a gun.

Thus, while under state and federal law, he was ineligible to own or possess firearms, he was able to do so thanks to this clerical error.

The Democratic Party was quick to use this incident to bolster their claim that gun control is the answer to prevent such incidents in the future. However, Republicans often argue in response that our existing laws are sufficient but that enforcement thereof is not.

Furthermore, the Texas church massacre clearly demonstrated the inability of the police to be everywhere at once. There is an old saying on this matter: “When seconds count, the police respond in minutes.” Yes, the police do everything they can, and perform an incredibly valuable public service.

But clearly, if this armed civilian had not been there, there is no telling how many more individuals could have been killed by Kelley.

Criminals, by definition, are not going to respect the laws anyway. If they are planning the commission of a violent crime, the fact that a certain type of weapon is illegal is of little importance to them.

It’s time to rigorously enforce the gun laws on the books, and aggressively pursue criminals who own or possess firearms, and particularly those who use them in the commission of crimes.

Furthermore, it is abundantly clear that Kelley received an outrageously lenient sentence; who on earth would ever suggest that assaulting your wife and fracturing your stepson’s skull should result in 12 months in jail?

It’s time for serious measures that keep violent criminals off the streets. The capacity for rehabilitation must be weighed against the safety of the general public.

David Unsworth David Unsworth

David Unsworth is a Boston native. He received degrees in History and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, and subsequently spent five years working in real estate development in New York City. Currently he resides in Bogota, Colombia, where he is involved in the tourism industry. In his free time he enjoys singing in rock bands, travelling throughout Latin America, and studying Portuguese.