Hours After Sutherland Springs Shooting, Texas Official Says More Guns in Church Are the Answer

Texas Church Shooting 1
FBI officials arrive at the site of a mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. MAX MASSEY/ KSAT 12/via REUTERS

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

Hours after Sunday's mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the Lone Star State's Attorney General called on the faithful to come to services armed.

Appearing on Fox News on Sunday night, Ken Paxton was asked by anchor Eric Shawn, "As a country, what do we do? How can we get our arms around this and stop this insanity?"

Paxton's answer was to focus on the arms, not the insanity.

Attorney General Ken Paxton says more guns in church could have stopped Sunday's mass killing. Texas Attorney General's Office

"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 ... all I can say is, you know, in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have concealed-carry," he said. "And so if it's a place where somebody has the ability to carry, there's always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people."

Shawn did ask Paxton if it was appropriate to bring guns inside a church — "a diametric opposite concept," Shawn said — but Paxton was undeterred.

"We need in churches...at least arming some of the parishioners or the congregation so that they can respond if something like this, when something like this happens again," he said.

Paxton's comments follow a widely held, but deeply discredited theory that the only thing that stops a "bad guy" with a gun is a "good guy" with a gun. The National Rifle Association, the nation's largest gun lobbying group, frequently reports on instances when civilians stop a crime in progress, claiming it happens millions of times per year. Federal statistics show that it is far less frequent.

Paxton has long been supported by the NRA. He has also been endorsed by the Gun Owners of America. His website affirms his commitment to making sure "no government entity may set local policies that infringe upon our right to personally keep and bear arms."

But all those arms come at a high price. A Scientific American analysis of multiple studies last week concluded that "more guns are linked to more crimes: murders, rapes, and others. Far less research shows that guns help."

Most of this research—and there have been several dozen peer-reviewed studies—punctures the idea that guns stop violence. In a 2015 study using data from the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard University reported that firearm assaults were 6.8 times more common in the states with the most guns versus those with the least. Also in 2015 a combined analysis of 15 different studies found that people who had access to firearms at home were nearly twice as likely to be murdered as people who did not.

And 2015 study by he Violence Policy Center showed that gun owners who pull weapons in self-defense are more likely to cause an accidental death than stop someone from committing a crime. They also often just get in the way.

Just last week, police officials in a Colorado town said they were delayed in identifying a fugitive suspect after a Walmart shooting because surveillance footage showed so many armed civilians.

And after a gunman killed five officers at a rally in 2016, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said it's hard to know who the "good guy" is versus who the "bad guy" because so many people are carrying guns.

There are an estimated 320,000,000 guns in private hands in this country.

See the full interview below: