Keith Thomas Kinnunen, the shooter who killed two people at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas on Sunday, was not allowed to own a gun. Under current law, it was 100 percent illegal for him to own or carry any firearm. He had a massive rap sheet dating back to 1998, including gun felonies. Yet he wasn’t locked up. That is why he was able to kill two people in the church. Thank God, Texas allows citizens to carry concealed weapons, so he was stopped before he could shoot and kill more. But the ugly fact is that most mass shooters are repeat offenders and known to law enforcement. If we actually had criminal control, almost all of these attacks would be prevented.
If the Left really wants to prevent most mass shootings, how about we bring back and reinforce mandatory minimum sentencing on gun felons? Throughout Americans cities, so many violent offenders have rap sheets full of gun violations, yet they are not seriously punished. How about we start “doing something” about mass shootings by punishing people like Keith Thomas Kinnunen and not deterring heroes like Jack Wilson who stopped the shooter before he could kill dozens of others?
A quick glance at Kinnunen’s criminal record shows at least a dozen arrests dating back to 1998. Here is what I was able to piece together from his arrest and court records in several states, as well as from some local news reports:
- May 4, 1998: Arrested in Tucson for carrying a firearm without a license. He was found guilty, but given no jail time.
- June 25, 1999: Arrested for misconduct involving weapons in Tucson. Charges dismissed.
- August 6, 1999: Arrested for theft and endangerment in Tucson. Found guilty on theft charge.
- August 18, 1999: Arrested for spilling load onto highway in Pima County, AZ. Found guilty.
- 2000: Convicted for driving without a license in Arizona.
- August 25, 2004: Arrested for disorderly conduct in Tucson. Charges dismissed.
- December 3, 2008: Arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was found guilty the next year but was sentenced to just 90 days.
- August 12, 2009: Arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Tucson.
- December 8, 2010: Charged with theft in Tucson and numerous failures to appear in court. Never served any new prison time.
- August 11, 2011: Charged with assault, disorderly conduct, and failure to appear in Tucson.
- November 29, 2011: Arrested in Grady County, Oklahoma, for domestic violence and felony aggravated assault. Plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and served 90 days with credit for time served.
- February 9, 2012: A warrant for his arrest was issued for arson in Grady, Oklahoma. He was eventually arrested for lighting tampons on fire and burning a cotton field. He paid a $4,500 fine.
- December 10, 2013: Arrested for theft in Fort Worth, Texas. Found guilty.
- March 25, 2014: Charged with assault knowingly causing injury in Tucson and illegally possessing a weapon.
- June 16, 2015: Arrested in River Oaks, Texas, for unpaid parking tickets.
- September 12, 2016: According to MyCentralJersey.com, he was arrested in Linden, New Jersey, for possession of a 12-gauge shotgun while he was taking pictures of an oil refinery. At the time, New Jersey police also found a contempt of court warrant stemming from an aggravated assault case in Oklahoma.
Notice that despite numerous charges and convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and felony possession of a weapon, this man barely served time and was out on the streets to commit this horrible attack on the church this week. This is what should be the subject of a national debate – why there are so many people with serious violent felonies and firearms violations who are not punished in a meaningful way, and what can be done about it.
Criminals like Kinnunen are the rule, not the exception, in the system. Even the most violent criminals barely serve time. Just last week, an Oregon man who pleaded guilty to raping three teens was sentenced to just 14 months in prison, and with early release programs, he will be out even earlier. It used to be that violent criminals were held before trial in jail, serving as a deterrent. But across the nation, we are seeing judges release the most egregious repeat violent offenders on low bail. Last week, a previously convicted rapist with weapons and robbery convictions was arrested for torturing and raping a 21-year-old woman in the Minneapolis area, a beacon of jailbreak policy. He was released on just $20,000 bail.
Why are politicians not speaking out about the epidemic of under-sentencing and parole violators rather than complaining about too much incarceration? As Rafael Mangual of the Manhattan Institute observed last week at the New York Post, the most violent cities like Chicago and Baltimore are revolving doors for serious gun felons. “A third of Baltimore homicide suspects in 2017 committed their alleged offenses while on probation or parole, despite having an average of nearly 10 prior arrests. In Chicago, those arrested for shootings or homicides in 2015-16 had an average of 12 prior arrests.”