Attorney General Ken Paxton: Church Congregations Should Be Armed

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelNovember 6, 2017 2:54 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.


Gov. Abbott says shooting suspect was denied license to carry

While the man suspected of opening fire on a South Texas church on Sunday reportedly purchased his weapon last year, Gov. Greg Abbott says the suspect was denied a license to carry in the state.

26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley is suspected of killing at least 26 people and injuring 20 more at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

State officials described Kelley’s weapon as an assault-style rifle.

Abbott told CNN on Monday morning that it’s still not clear how Kelley got his hands on a gun. “So how was it that he was able to get a gun? By all the facts that we seem to know he was not supposed to have access to a gun, so how did this happen?” Abbott asked. 

There’s an important distinction here – just because Kelley was denied a license to carry does not mean he couldn’t legally own a gun. However, officials are trying to figure out how he was able to purchase one. When pressed further on whether gun control could help prevent shootings, Abbott focused instead on mental health.

“Obviously you have to be very unstable to commit a heinous crime like this,” Abbott said. “So once again, one of the challenges we have to deal with is not just evil but mental health challenges. Things like that are avenues that we can pursue to make sure we lead to a safer society.”

Abbott added that everyone needs to do a better job addressing mental health issues, but those issues are complex.

AG Ken Paxton says gun control laws wouldn’t reduce violence

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says churches should have policies in place to address the possibility of a shooter in order to stay safe. He told Fox News on Sunday that shootings like the one in Sutherland Springs will happen again.

“So we need people in churches, professional security or at least arming some of the parishioners or the congregation, so they can respond if something like this – when something like this happens again,” he said.

Paxton also expressed doubt that stricter gun control laws would reduce the frequency of mass shootings. He said if someone is willing to kill someone, then he would also be willing to violate a gun law. Paxton added that in Texas the opportunity to carry concealed weapons means there’s the opportunity for a gunman to be taken out before killing very many people.

Popovich: ‘Talk about the shooting, not basketball’

While many politicians have been reacting to the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich also offered his thoughts.

Sutherland Springs is located about 30 miles from San Antonio.

Popovich told reporters after the game on Sunday night that it was inappropriate to talk basketball.

“We won a basketball game but considering everything that’s gone on today, it’s pretty meaningless when you think about the tragedy that those families are suffering,” Popovich said. “It’s just inconceivable and impossible to put your head around.”

The Spurs held a moment of silence for the victims of the First Baptist Church shooting before the game started.