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White Settlement church shooter had long criminal history — so how did he get a gun?

Kaley Johnson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in News & Features

"If you want to talk about a person who shouldn't have had firearms, he fits the description," Scruggs said. "I cannot imagine any rational person or any responsible gun owners thinking he should have had a shotgun. I mean, it's ridiculous."

In her motion for a restraining order, Kinnunen's ex-wife described him as a "religious fanatic" who said he was "battling a demon."

Jack Wilson, the leader of the church's security team, ended the shooting in six seconds by fatally shooting Kinnunen. Many touted Wilson's actions as proof that guns in the right hands save lives.

"What happened didn't prevent the tragedy -- it limited the tragedy," Scruggs said. "Wouldn't it have been better if we could have prevented him from going into the church with a gun?"

In a statement, Democratic state Sen. Beverly Powell of Fort Worth also emphasized Kinnunen's troubling history.

"We must respect the Second Amendment while also working together to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm to Texans worshipping in a church, attending school or shopping for their children," she said.

But Scruggs argued the shooting was evidence that more restrictive gun laws, not less, are needed in Texas. He called Kinnunen "a walking advertisement for a red flag law" based on his history.


Red flag laws allow a judge to temporarily seize a person's weapons if they are considered an imminent threat. Texas has not adopted any such laws.

In 2018, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he opposed red flag laws.

"I have never supported these policies, nor has the majority of the Texas Senate," Patrick said in a recent news release.

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