After a mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, left 26 people dead Sunday, state Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested that institutions have to decide either to allow firearms or to hire private security to defend against future carnage.
“In Texas, you have to actually post, if you’re a church, telling people not to carry guns — otherwise you could carry a gun,” Paxton said on “Fox & Friends” on Monday.
He continued: “I think we need to look at that, because I think we need to have churches, schools, businesses start thinking about their policies — because obviously we can’t have first responders at every location — and so they need to think about whether they want private security or whether they want to make sure that some of their own people are armed to prevent this from happening again.”
Texas penal code allows property owners to post signs banning either concealed or openly carried weapons on site. It was not immediately clear if First Baptist Church, where the massacre took place, discouraged or banned congregants from bringing weapons on the property.
Although two armed men did pursue the gunman, 26-year-old Devin Kelly, during his rampage, neither were attending the church at the time. It was not clear whether he was killed by them or by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Paxton suggested even more explicitly on Sunday that churchgoers arm themselves. When asked by Fox News how to “stop this insanity,” Paxton responded, “As far as what we can do in the future, I mean, the only thing I know, because you can’t necessarily keep guns out of the hands of people who are going to violate the law.
“If somebody’s willing to kill someone, they’re also going to be willing to violate a gun law,” he continued. “And all I can say is that in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have concealed carry. And so if it’s a place where somebody has the ability to carry, there’s always the opportunity that the gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people.”
The Sutherland Springs shooting is believed to be the deadliest shooting at a house of worship in U.S. history, and is the deadliest shooting in Texas history, the state’s Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday. Police said the victims ranged from 18 months to 77 years old.