Democrat’s draconian gun control bill makes false claim that civilians have not stopped mass shootings

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) has proposed a gun control bill that would create a national firearm registry, among other restrictions.

In the bill, Lee makes the false claim that no civilian had stopped a mass shooting in the past 33 years.

H.R. 125 makes several statistical claims to support restrictions on firearms and on gun owners, including the claim that no civilians have stopped mass shootings in three decades. The text of the bill reads:

“Mass shootings stopped by armed civilians in the past 33 years: 0.”

The claim is false, and numerous examples can be cited of civilians stepping up to stop criminals bent on causing mass death.  One such scene played out in Springfield, Missouri on August 8, 2019, at a Walmart full of customers.

A man dressed in full body armor and armed with a tactical rifle, a handgun, and over 100 rounds of ammunition entered the store and began recording himself. As Dmitriy Andreychenko walked through the Walmart heavily armed, shoppers fled in panic.

One civilian stepped up. A private citizen described as a former firefighter pulled his legally concealed firearm and held the man at gunpoint until police arrived. The gunman’s intentions remain under investigation, but no one was injured in the incident.

If that incident was not dramatic enough to convince Lee of her mistake, she should look at another incident that occurred on May 24, 2018, in Oklahoma City. 

A gunman opened fire inside a restaurant, shooting multiple patrons. Two civilians, Bryan Whittle and Juan Carlos Nazario, heard the shooting and rushed to help.

The two men rushed to the restaurant and drew weapons while ordering the gunman to drop his. In the ensuing shootout, the gunman was struck several times and died at the scene.

A woman and two adolescent girls were shot and wounded by the gunman before the two good Samaritans stopped the shooting spree.

There are dozens of other examples that Lee could have found had she taken the time to research her claims.

An FBI study found that 160 shootings between 2000 and 2013 ended when the assailant stopped shooting, committed suicide, or fled. Unarmed citizens restrained shooters in 21 of those incidents.

Two shooters were stopped when an off-duty police officer shot and killed the attackers.  Five of the incidents were stopped by armed civilians who exchanged gunfire with the shooters.

Representing Texas, Rep. Lee should have been aware of the tragic date of October 31, 2017.

On that date, a gunman opened fire inside First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Devin Patrick Kelley entered the church dressed in black, wearing body armor and a mask, and armed with an assault-type rifle.

Kelley opened fire, killing the associate pastor, a church secretary, and multiple children and parents. Kelley cried out that he was there to kill everyone as he walked up and down the aisles shooting victims.

Stephen Willeford was at home just a block away from the church. His daughter alerted him to gunfire coming from the church. Willeford grabbed his rifle and ran toward the church as Kelley stepped outside. 

The two men exchanged gunfire, and Kelley was struck twice. Kelley jumped into his Ford SUV and kept firing at Willeford while driving away.

Willeford stopped a passing motorist named Johnnie Langendorff and told him what was happening. The two strangers then pursued Kelley.

Kelley’s SUV eventually crashed on the side of the roadway, and Willeford found him dead inside the vehicle with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

There were 50 to 60 people inside the church when the shooting began. Kelley had expressed a desire to kill everyone inside the church. It is unknown if Kelley was going to return inside the church, but Willeford’s intervention prevented him from doing so.

Inside the church, 26 people were killed and 20 more were injured. As tragic as the numbers are, they could have been much worse had Kelley been able to return.

One of the starkest examples of an armed civilian stopping a mass shooting occurred in Titusville, Florida in August of 2018. A gunman opened fire at a back-to-school event attended by over 150 students at a park.

A civilian with a gun permit returned fire and shot the gunman before he could injure a single person at the crowded event. The gunman was shot in the head and suffered life-threatening injuries. 

The quote from Titusville Police Sergeant William Amos is a clear example of the absurdity of Rep. Lee’s claim. He said:

“Based on the information that we’ve gathered, this person stepped in and saved a lot of people’s lives.”

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 H.R. 125 aims to create a national gun registry, set the minimum gun ownership age at 21, and require licensing and psychological testing.

The bill, also titled the Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act, would make it a crime to possess a firearm or ammunition, and a crime to sell a firearm or ammunition to another person who was unlicensed.

The bill requires gun owners to purchase liability insurance and creates a ban on ammunition of .50 caliber or greater, with a few exceptions for law enforcement and certain security officers.

The bill would require gun owners to complete a government-run training program and also to register their firearms in a federal gun registry.  The bill reads:

“Under the firearm registration system, the owner of a firearm shall transmit to the Bureau – the make, model, and serial number of the firearm, the identity of the owner of the firearm, the date the firearm was acquired by the owner, and where the firearm is or will be stored; and a notice specifying the identity of any person to whom, and any period of time during which, the firearm will be loaned to the person.”

The registry would be accessible by anyone:

“The Attorney General shall make the contents of the database accessible to all members of the public, all Federal, State, and local law enforcement authorities, all branches of the United States Armed Forces, and all State and local governments, as defined by the Bureau.”

A special license would be required for the display of antique firearms inside a private home, and another for “military-style weapons,” including semi-automatic rifles and pistols, and some shotguns.

Licenses to own a firearm would not be approved by the government for anyone who has ever suffered from mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, homicidal or suicidal thoughts, or a brain disease.

The requirement for a psychological exam would include the psychological condition of other members of the license holder’s household, current and former spouses, relatives, and associates. The bill reads:

“The evaluation is conducted by a licensed psychologist approved by the Attorney General; as deemed necessary by the licensed psychologist involved, the evaluation included a psychological evaluation of other members of the household in which the individual resides; and…

“…as part of the psychological evaluation, the licensed psychologist interviewed any spouse of the individual, any former spouse of the individual, and at least 2 other persons who are a member of the family of, or an associate of, the individual to further determine the state of the mental, emotional, and relational stability of the individual in relation to firearms.”

Penalties for violation of the licensing and registration law would include a fine between $5,000 and $150,000 and imprisonment between five years and 25 years under H.R. 125.

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Author: Scott A. Davis

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