Shooting incidents targeting churches have pushed the places of worship towards armed self-defense. On December 29, an armed shooter with a history of mental illness stormed a church in Texas killing two members of the congregation before an armed church security volunteer stopped him.
Earlier, a shooter at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killed 26 people and injured more than 20 before an armed civilian stopped him.
In south Illinois, Fellowship Baptist Church invited Vienna Police Department for shooting lessons involving churches across the south of the state. Over 40 churches with over 175 participants took part in the exercise. According to Sgt. Doug Wilson of the Carbondale Police Department, the interest in armed defense for churches has continued to grow.
“There’s been a tremendous increase in desire and willingness to have a security team and to get training,” said Sgt. Wilson. “Pretty much every time there’s a church shooting somewhere, another church says, ‘It’s time we do something.’” Sgt. Wilson also acts as an armed security volunteer at his church.
The state of Texas has passed laws allowing firearms in places of worship stemming back to 1997 and recently passing Senate Bill 535 which was inspired by the shootings in the Sutherland Springs church. Indiana did the same by passing House Bill 1651 that allows volunteers and church employees to carry firearms within the place of worship.
Faith Based Security Network indicates that there are over 1000 volunteer groups around the country, and the number could be higher.
“I don’t think there’s any question that the movement is growing,” said Carl Chinn, the FBSN president.
It appears that churches, lawmakers, and law enforcement officers are waking up to reality. "We have learned many times over that there is no such thing as a gun-free zone. Those with evil intentions will violate the law and carry out their heinous acts no matter what," Texas state Sen. Donna Campbell. Dale Russell, the head of security at Fellowship Baptist Church in Vienna, Illinois says, “The adage, ‘It will never happen here:' That’s a naive approach to take.”
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.
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