06:01 GMT24 July 2021
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    US lawmakers should push for concealed carry legislation in the wake of the Texas mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Gun Owners of America Communications Director Jordan Stein told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Sunday, Air Force veteran Devin Kelley, who suffered from mental health issues, opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Spring, killing at least 26 people and wounding 20 others. The Texas Department of Public Safety said it is investigating the motive for the mass shooting.

    "US Congress should immediately act upon concealed carry reciprocity," Stein said. "This legislation would enable honest gun owners to protect themselves as they travel."

    Citing a PoliceOne's Gun Policy and Law Enforcement survey from 2013, Stein said the group agrees with 86 percent of law enforcement who say mass shooting casualties can be reduced by armed civilians.

    "No law can stop evil acts," Stein said. "Criminals and crazies have no regard for the law. The best way to prevent mass shootings is to eliminate gun free zones, pass concealed carry reciprocity and let responsible armed citizens defend themselves."

    Texas lawmakers passed legislation in 2015 to allow open carry as long as individuals have a handgun carry license. During the Sutherland Springs shooting, civilian Stephen Willeford used his own AR assault rifle to engage the suspect, according to authorities. The suspect was shot and dropped his assault rifle and fled the scene in his vehicle, according to authorities.

    "Congress should indefinitely table any gun control proposal and scrap any call for government agencies to regulate agencies to regulate firearms," Stein said.

    The gun rights group, Stein said, urges Congress to support the House of Representatives' Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 and the Senate's Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. Both bills are similar in that they would permit a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.

    The gun rights group is opposed to any bipartisan gun control legislation proposed by members of Congress, Stein said. They are also opposed to all types of background checks, including gun and accessory bans, he added.

    "Background checks have a record of failure. Based on reports from the Department of Justice, roughly 95% of initial denials are ‘false positives,’ affecting people who should not be denied. Any attempt to "fix" background checks will over serve to further disarm honest citizens," he added.

    The background check system, he said, has been used to block gun sales to any of the 257,000 military veterans who have had fiduciaries appointed to handle their finances.

    "Also, consider evildoers such as the Sandy Hook and Klackamas Mall shooters who evaded background checks and acquired their guns by other means," he suggested.

    Kelley had been caught sneaking firearms onto Holloman Air Force Base near the New Mexico city of Alamogordo, according to an El Paso Police Department report. The report added that Kelley was attempting to carry out death threats that he made on his military chain of command.

    The former airman had received a bad conduct discharge from the United States Air Force after being convicted for assaulting his wife and step-child and subsequently being imprisoned for 12 months. He was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force.

    Information regarding Kelley should have been transmitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for entry into the National Crime Information Center database, but the Air Force failed to report it. The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Kelley bought three firearms that were found after the shooting. The firearms include a rifle that was left in the church and two handguns in the vehicle where police found Kelly dead.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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