Elvia Diaz, a writer for The Arizona Republic, recently argued it’s “terrifying” to think so many parishioners — one of whom saved many fellow worshippers from a crazed gunman — were armed at the time of the shooting Sunday at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas.
To her credit, Diaz immediately lauded Jack Wilson, the gun-toting congregant who shot the attacker only seconds after he began firing his weapon in the church. She then, though, decried pro-gun advocates who are, by her estimation, using the incident as “a PR tool.”
“He’s exactly the kind of man you want around with a firearm,” she wrote of Wilson. “But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns. … And that’s terrifying.”
Diaz used the attack, which resulted in the death of registered nurse Anton Wallace, to segue into an opportunity to rebuke Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for signing into law bills that loosened gun restrictions in the Lone Star State.
But have we really reached a point when each of us need to carry a firearm anywhere we go? Gun advocates certainly think so. They point to Wilson and the new Texas law that allows him and others to carry firearms inside the church.
Texas has one of the nation’s least restrictive gun laws, including allowing armed security at houses of worship and allowing parishioners to bring their weapons to church. Gun advocates didn’t waste any time after the recent church incident to promote the idea of arming oneself.
“Sunday’s shooting isn’t just about Jack Wilson’s heroism,” she continued. “It’s about how [the gunman] got a hold of a weapon in the first place, given his criminal record.”
Unwittingly, Diaz made the case for why it’s important responsible gun owners carry firearms, even in places of worship. The reality is criminals by their very nature do not follow laws. While some changes in gun laws might present a few more stumbling blocks for those seeking to do harm, highly restrictive laws likely won’t completely thwart someone with enough motivation to obtain a weapon.
The op-ed, which also ran in USA Today, received plenty of criticism from social media frustrated by Diaz’s words: