The National Rifle Association has released a new ad today that features Stephen Willeford, the man from Sutherland Springs, Texas, who stopped a deranged man intent on shooting up a local church.
Back in November, gunman Devin Kelley killed 26 people and injured dozens more at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. It is believed, however, that the carnage could have been far worse had it not been for the quick-thinking response of Willeford. The 55-year-old former NRA instructor lived across the street from the church and immediately jumped into action when he heard shots fired.
The NRA video features Willeford, who gives a personal account of the church shooting.
“My daughter came into the bedroom and she said, ‘Dad, there’s a man in black tactical gear shooting up the Baptist church,'” Willeford, an NRA member, says at the start of the ad. “Every one of those shots, to me, represented one of my neighbors, one of my friends, and I ran as fast as I could.”
“Immediately, he came out of the church shooting at me,” he says of the gunman. “He hit the truck in front of me, he hit the car behind me, he hit the house behind me, and I hit him.”
“He had an AR-15, but so did I,” Willeford continues. “It’s not the gun, it’s the heart; it’s a matter of the heart. I’m not the bravest man in the world or anything, but I was here — I was here and I could do something. And I had to do something.”
Since the shooting, Willeford has been an outspoken advocate for the importance of the second amendment and the NRA. Earlier this week, Willeford wrote a piece for Dallas News, sharing his thoughts on anti-gun policies.
“Anti-gun politicians and anti-gun activists have made clear their belief that the way to stop criminals is to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens, and many have blamed the men and women of the NRA for acts of deranged individuals. Sometimes it feels like the mainstream media hates firearms,” he writes in the piece. “I am proof that they are wrong. I am also proof that the NRA’s familiar mantra is true: The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
“People say I saved lives that day,” he writes of the shooting. “I hope that’s true. I did what the Lord called me to do.”
“A lot of gun control groups out there talk about restricting gun rights, but criminals don’t obey laws,” he notes. “Those restrictions only affect law-abiding gun owners like me. They do nothing to increase public safety.”
Watch the full ad below: