Roughly 1 in every 30 Texans is licensed to carry. That figure doesn’t include the countless unknown number of Texans who are armed, but haven’t gotten their LTC yet. The right to keep and bear arms, in order to defend ourselves and our loved ones is protected in our nation’s founding documents for a reason, but simply owning a gun doesn’t necessarily make you a responsible gun owner.

Last month, Texas experienced its second church shooting in recent memory. The results, however, were far different this time. Although often under mentioned, one critical element of being a responsible gun owner is training. Responsible gun ownership is vague term often used in the media to be synonymous with certain gun control efforts like safe storage laws, but in reality, it demands so much more than that. Education and preparation are key, and being prepared for that moment is what prevented the members of the West Freeway Church of Christ from mourning what undoubtedly could have been a far worse tragedy.

While often dismissed as what critics commonly refer to as “hero fantasy,” even the most adamant proponents of increased gun control efforts were forced to concede that the “good guy with a gun” solution to gun violence can work, and does work when the response comes from a well-trained private citizen.

In the aftermath of last year’s Walmart shooting in El Paso, the story of a man who threw bottles at the shooter caught our attention. This person was allegedly shot attempting to distract or thwart a gunman with shelved items at a Walmart. However heroic his intentions may have been, he was unequipped to face the threat he came across in a situation where he was in the right place at the right time to save countless lives like Jack Wilson did. 

The police and members of our law enforcement agencies are overburdened as it is, and are simply not capable of being everywhere at all times to protect us.  It is our responsibility, for those willing to take it on, to step up and protect our loved ones and ourselves. We are blessed with the right to be armed, and it is our obligation to be the guardians and protectors we have the potential to be.

Jack Wilson did not set out to be a hero, in fact, he flat out refused the title, but because of his courage, training, and his perceived sense of civic duty, he became a Texas legend.