CCW Holder Takes down Gunman- Without His Own Firearm

On Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, the parishioners of Burnette Chapel Church of God, Antioch TN, were faced with a gunman who entered their church and began shooting. After the gunman had killed one and wounded six he was subdued by a 22 yr. old usher, himself a CCW holder, but the usher did so without his own firearm. The usher is now being hailed a hero, and rightfully so, but there are valuable lessons to be learned.

It is unclear why the gunman, who had previously attended the church himself, drove into the parking lot and killed a woman by her car and then entered the church itself armed with two handguns. Nor is it clear why that. The Same gunman again started shooting, wounding 6 additional people, before he was subdued by the usher. What is clear is this young man saved countless others from being wounded or killed, but I have to ask “Why was his firearm in his car when he needed it most?”

By all accounts, the usher was the holder of a valid CCW. It is also obvious he had a firearm in his vehicle as he retrieved it following the confrontation and used it to hold the gunman until police arrived. I can only guess as to why he would leave the firearm, which he most likely owned for self-protection, in his vehicle rather than carrying it on his person. But I would hazard a guess that it involved one of the following reasons: (1) he felt safe within his church, someplace he did not believe he was vulnerable to attack, (2) other parishioners disapproved of his carrying a firearm in a church or (3) a combination of 1 & 2. Substitute home, work or any number of other familiar everyday places for church and I am willing to better we have all experienced a similar situation. Fortunately, most of us never face the consequences.

I am glad the usher is safe and congratulate his bravery in taking on an armed gunman, even after he had himself been pistol whipped. But I also hope that everyone involved has learned a few valuable lessons from this tragic event.

• A firearm does you no good unless you can access it when needed
• Just because you feel safe somewhere does not make it so, criminals often consider such places “soft targets”
• If carried properly no one will even know you have a firearm unless you are forced to use it
• If you must use your firearm most involved, even the most anti-gun liberal living , will be grateful to be just that-LIVING

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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1 thought on “CCW Holder Takes down Gunman- Without His Own Firearm

  1. If I am not mistaken, doesn’t Tennesse state law forbid carrying firearms in places of worship? Obviously, the gunman didn’t care for such laws–he had crossd that line a long time ago by the time he decided to shoot that innocent woman in the parking lot and fire upon parishoners in the church itself. However, the usher, being an upstanding citizen, would have felt constrained by that law, even though there have been shootings in places of worship before, which is a VERY disturbing and sickening (but thankfully still rare) trend. It doesn’t bode well for a society when people no longer respect houses of worship, but I suspect that we both know that that boat sailed a long time ago…

    Moreover, as quite a few people hope (and probably expect) to never have to use their firearm, the risk of being prosecuted for violating the law seems far greater than that of having to deal with an armed assailant when one’s firearm is temporarily inaccessible.

    Also, wouldn’t the rather esoteric laws regarding self-defense also come into play if this usher HAD carried his firearm and used it (in one way or another) to subdue the assailant? In some states, I wouldn’t be surprised if he would have been unlucky enough to be subsequently prosecuted for violating the law on carrying his pistol in a gun-restricted zone, among other things!

    Nevertheless, I do agree wholeheartedly with the four points you made at the end of your post. Those ideas SHOULD be the principles that guide the legislation regulating concealed carry, as they are sensible, logical, and far more conducive to public safety than the current restrictions which

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