Guns in Church

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Sheepdog-Iconography---Church-SafetyIn one of the many email newsletters that I received already this week, I found an interesting article that was cross-posted between the Blaze (http://www.theblaze.com) and BeliefNet (http://beliefnet.com). This article talks about parishioners legally carrying concealed firearms in their church, and can be found at: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/should-worshippers-be-able-to-bring-guns-to-church/.

What was interesting about this article was that it referenced how more pastors and clergy are allowing concealed handguns in their churches now, even after the last couple mass murders. More and more pastors are beginning to realize that the church is no longer considered “safe” from crime, as it was in the past.

There was a time, when even the most hardened mobsters would not dare commit a violent act in a church. This was not out of some respect for the law, but out of respect for the house of God (and for fear of their immortal soul). As criminals have become bolder, and as society has become more crass, even the churches, once sacrosanct, have become potential targets for crime.

Add to the threat a growing intolerance of any “traditional” religious views from the violent fringes, and the house of God becomes a ripe target to make a political statement. Between the increased criminal activity and the higher risk for extremist political or religious violence, churches are starting to wake up to the possibility that they may come under attack.

Why not rely on the police? After all, it is their job to protect the public, and “to serve and protect” is on most police cars – right? Well, according to the Supreme Court, the police do not necessarily have to protect you. And although the vast majority of officers would willingly respond and protect violence at a church, the old adage applies: “When seconds count, police are only minutes away.”

Another writer recently posted his research and even his methodology online as it relates to mass murder incidents in the US. Disregarding certain incidents due to aberrance, he came up with the following statistics:

  • Average number of deaths when the killer was stopped by police officers – 14.3
  • Average number of deaths when the killer was stopped by a civilian – 2.3

(http://silverunderground.com/2012/07/auditing-shooting-rampage-statistics/)

It seems to bear out that an armed civilian can stop, delay or interfere with a mass murderer on a killing spree, potentially protecting and saving many lives. Churches have, for a long time, been known as gun-free zones (or Victim Disarmament Zones). I believe it is high time that churches once again are known as a safe place to encounter God – as well as a protected place.

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