Church Defense Should Not Be an Afterthought
Twenty years ago, the notion that someone would carefully devise a plan to enter a church fully armed with intent to gun down the innocents within would have been practically unthinkable. It’s only in the post-911 age of terrorism that places of worship have become fair game.
Historically, the church has been viewed as a safe place or sanctuary dating back to ancient times.
By the 4th century, the right to sanctuary had been formalized by the early Christians. The churches offered sanctuary mostly to criminals for hundreds of years until being abolished during 1540 as part of the Reformation. The Catholic Church was the lone exception, keeping the sanctuary option as part of its Code of Canon Law until 1983.
It’s a sad commentary on modern times when churches can no longer be considered a safe haven, but it doesn’t mean that pastors and their congregations are powerless to protect themselves. Author and United States Concealed Carry Association Magazine editor Kevin Michalowski explains the mentality that is taking hold in the nation’s churches in his article “Carry Your Gun in Church? Hell Yes!” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“I cannot tell you the number of church groups that have reached out to the USCCA for help and guidance defending their congregations and ensuring those who would defend the flock are also protected from the legal system.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
By its very nature, carrying concealed in church requires due diligence beyond what permit holders practice every day. The pistol must remain absolutely concealed at all times. Becoming the center of attention for all the wrong reasons at church will undoubtedly bring down more restrictions for everyone, but may make for a different kind of sermon the following Sunday.
As most permit holders are aware, having a home defense plan is an integral part of anyone’s overall defensive preparations. Your expertise and training could prove invaluable to your congregation. If you are comfortable enough to talk to any of the congregation members or clergy, you can approach them about discussing some security options.
Even without the assistance of the congregation or clergy, there are steps you can take to better protect yourself and your family. Do not sit near the rear of the church, as this is most likely where any attacker would enter, and stay away from the seats closest to the center aisle to give yourself time to react. Be aware of other entrances/exits that could be used as an escape route.
Whatever action you decide to take, remember that the shooter will most likely be dead or gone by the time first responders arrive.