On May 18th, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s Angela Turner suggested the Waco shootout between outlaw biker gangs highlights the danger of openly carrying handguns. Governor Greg Abbott (R) responded to this and similar statements by others by pointing out that Open Carry of handguns is not yet legal in Texas, so it could not have been a factor in the criminal incident.
According to The Hill, Turner said the following in reaction to the shootout:
Open carry makes everyday confrontations potentially more dangerous and poses an unnecessary challenge on our law enforcement to determine in the heat of the event who is a good guy and who is a dangerous criminal. Perhaps Sunday’s violence will serve as the necessary wake-up call to our legislators that they should stop taking marching orders from the gun lobby.
The Associated Press reported that Abbott responded to criticism of Open Carry by saying that it was “off the mark.” Moreover, Abbott pointed out that laws, as they now stand, actually prohibit openly carrying handguns, yet “the current laws didn’t stop [the shootout].”
State senator Joan Hoffman (R-Dist. 17) echoed Abbott’s sentiments. Speaking on May 18 she said:
There is no such thing as a gun free zone. We try our best to control criminal activity. We have plenty of laws on the books to prevent criminals from committing crimes. As we can see yesterday, things still occur sometimes.
On May 18 Breitbart News reported that Moms Demand Action was also trying to seize on the Waco shootout as a way to further their goal of securing expanded background checks. To that end, Moms Demand suggested outlaw biker gangs would not have had guns if legislators expanded background checks.
In so doing, they overlooked the simple fact that background checks — which already exist — do not keep determined criminals from getting guns. Adam Lanza got the guns he needed for the Sandy Hook attack by stealing them, and Clackamas town center gunman Jacob Roberts did the same.
In other instances high profile attackers simply passed a background to acquire guns then used the guns in a criminal fashion.
For example, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi (Garland), Jared and Amanda Miller (Las Vegas), Elliot Rodger (Santa Barabara), Ivan Lopez (Fort Hood 2014), Darion Marcus Aguilar (Maryland mall), Karl Halverson Pierson (Arapahoe High School), Paul Ciancia (LAX), Aaron Alexis (DC Navy Yard), Tennis Melvin Maynard (West Virginia), James Holmes (Aurora theater), Jared Loughner (Tucson), Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood 2009), Jiverly Wong (Binghamton), Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech), and Naveed Haq (Seattle) all passed background checks for the weapons they used to carry out their attacks.
If Waco proves anything it is that criminals will act out their criminality at some point and the best thing law-abiding citizens can do is be armed and prepared to defend their selves and their families when that happens.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.