In the days following a shooting in a Texas church, where the killer was stopped by an armed congregant, Presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren said:
“I don’t feel safer going to my church knowing that somebody could be sitting next to me with weapons. I don’t feel safer going to the mall knowing that some fight that ordinarily might have escalated into a little push and shove could escalate into everybody whips out weapons. I don’t feel any safer.”
The man who stopped the killer at the West Freeway Church of Christ in the Forth Worth suburb of White Settlement, says he’s no hero. Jack Wilson said, "I see myself as doing what needed to be done to take out the evil threat." The 71-year old is a former reserve deputy sheriff who has his own gun range, and he provided firearms and security training to members of the church’s armed security team.
Wilson’s quick action —he stopped the killer in 6 seconds— saved countless lives in that church. Two other members of the church were tragically killed, but it could have been far worse.
It’s difficult to argue that the congregation would have been safer without Wilson’s actions. No one is saying that law enforcement could have been there within 6-seconds to stop the killing more quickly than Jack Wilson did. What could be behind Senator Warren’s contention that she doesn’t feel safer, “knowing that somebody could be sitting next to me with weapons?”
Set aside the fact that Senator Warren has some sort of armed security —the Secret Service has a set of criteria on which candidates get protection— so there is almost nothing that will actually make her feel safer than having her own armed security.
But for the rest of us without a private security force, we are our own first responders, and need to decide how we’d like to handle our own personal security. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, over 17 million Americans have a concealed carry permit. That marks a 273% increase since 2007. But violent crime is down, so this increase in concealed carry permits is not increasing crime, and the public is largely unaware of this trend.
In addition, holders of concealed carry permits are more law abiding than even members of law enforcement. Shouldn’t Senator Warren feel safer knowing that her law-abiding neighbors are carrying a concealed firearm?
Senator Warren may not be aware that the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) own data, though not widely disseminated, shows between 500,000 and 2.5 million times per year that citizens used a firearm to save their lives or the lives of their loved ones.
So ordinary citizens are actually safer when their law-abiding neighbors are armed.
Senator Warren seems to be conflating feeling safer with being safer. Being safer is a higher standard than simply feeling safer. Consider statistics on flying versus driving. Many people feel safer driving, perhaps because they are in control of the wheel, than they do flying. But statistics bear out that we are far safer flying than driving. Again, being safer is more important than feeling safer.
While Senator Warren tells us to look at facts and data, she should take her own advice when it comes to concealed carriers in America. Whether or not she feels safe, she factually is safer when she is around law-abiding citizens with firearms.
And thank goodness that there were armed, concealed carry security team members at West Freeway Church of Christ. Countless lives were saved.