- Pastor Robert Jeffress, an evangelical advisor to President Donald Trump, said on Monday that a mass shooting wouldn’t happen in his church because a large portion of his members carry concealed weapons.
- Many conservatives, including Trump, are promoting the argument that the best defence against mass shootings is more armed civilians.
In the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting at a Texas church that left 26 people dead, many conservatives are arguing that the way to stop similar attacks is by encouraging law-abiding individuals to arm themselves.
Pastor Robert Jeffress, an evangelical preacher at a Dallas megachurch and faith adviser to President Donald Trump, told “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning that a shooter wouldn’t get more than one or two shots off in his church before being stopped by an armed member.
“I’d say a quarter to a half of our members are concealed carry, they have guns and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” Jeffress said. “They bring them into the church with them.”
“That probably makes you feel safer,” “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt interjected.
“I think it does and I think, look, if somebody tries that in our church, they might get one shot off or two shots off, and that’s the last thing they will ever do in this life,” Jeffress said.
Co-host Brian Kilmeade added that mass shooters might not target a church or other gathering where attendants are known to carry weapons.
“Most of these guys are cowards, they don’t like when people shoot back, they like to hit defenseless people, and that won’t be the case anymore,” Kilmeade argued.
The Fox morning show hosts have long promoted the argument that, as National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre puts it, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Trump promoted the same theory in his response to Sunday’s shooting, which he said had nothing to do with a lack of gun control, noting that two Sutherland Springs locals pursued and shot at the gunman after he left the First Baptist Church.
“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn’t a ‘guns’ situation,” the president told reporters during a Sunday press conference in Japan. “I mean we could go into it, but it’s a little bit soon to go into it, but fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, it would have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse.”
In 2012, the gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, was convicted of assaulting his wife and cracking his infant son’s skull and was dismissed from the Air Force for bad conduct. It is unclear whether Kelley’s criminal record would have legally prevented him from purchasing a weapon.
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