The National Rifle Association (NRA) has released a new ad featuring Stephen Willeford, a plumber from Sutherland Springs, Texas who heroically chased and shot a deranged gunman who killed 26 people at the nearby Baptist church. Willeford, a good guy with a gun who stopped a bad guy with a guy, tells his story in the moving ad.
“My daughter came into the bedroom and she said, ‘Dad, there’s a man in black tactical gear shooting up the Baptist church,” Willeford, an NRA member, says at the start of the ad. “Every one of those shots, to me, represented one of my neighbors, one of my friends, and I ran as fast as I could.”
“Immediately, he came out of the church shooting at me,” he recalled. “He hit the truck in front of me, he hit the car behind me, he hit the house behind me, and I hit him.”
“He had an AR-15, but so did I,” Willeford continued. “It’s not the gun, it’s the heart; it’s a matter of the heart. I’m not the bravest man in the world or anything, but I was here, I was here and I could do something. And I had to do something.”
Earlier this week, Willeford penned an opinion piece for the Dallas News recalling that tragic day and speaking about the importance of the Second Amendment and the NRA.
“Anti-gun politicians and anti-gun activists have made clear their belief that the way to stop criminals is to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens, and many have blamed the men and women of the NRA for acts of deranged individuals. Sometimes it feels like the mainstream media hates firearms,” he wrote.
“I am proof that they are wrong. I am also proof that the NRA’s familiar mantra is true: The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he added.
“Last year, a mentally disturbed man entered a Baptist church in my hometown of Sutherland Springs and opened fire. I live across the street, and when my daughter told me there was a shooter and I heard the shots myself, I fell back on my years of NRA training, grabbed my AR-15, and ran across the street to engage the shooter. People say I saved lives that day. I hope that’s true. I did what the Lord called me to do,” he recalled.
“A lot of gun control groups out there talk about restricting gun rights, but criminals don’t obey laws,” he noted. “Those restrictions only affect law-abiding gun owners like me. They do nothing to increase public safety.”