A New York church is warning potential shooters not to mess with the congregation after it posted a sign which reads, “We are not gun free zone.”
According to Syracuse.com, Lighthouse Mexico Church of God in Oswego County posted the sign in light of the recent fatal church shootings in Tennessee and Texas.
But the church’s pastor has already allowed his congregants to open carry within the church for about two years.
Pastor Ronald Russell says the church has had an open carry policy since 2015, when white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black church members at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“People say ‘well, pastor, you’re talking about killing some,’ and I say ‘well, if I don’t protect my people, I’m being complicit.’ A shooting here, that’s not going to happen,” Russell told Spectrum News.
Even church members agree that they must be proactive, especially after the recent church shootings.
“We have to take the precautions necessary so that we can come and still be able to glorify our God and be safe at the same time,” a church member told KSAT-TV.
Many churches around the country are participating in active shooter preparedness training, but Lighthouse Mexico Church of God is taking it a step further.
On the church’s website, it states that the church provides training, teaches self-defense and explains ways to identify suspicious behavior.
While many gun control advocates would mock this effort, the parishioners say having guns in the congregation makes them feel safer. And with good reason — in both the Tennessee and Texas church shootings, the gunmen were in some way detained by a responsible firearms holder.
In Tennessee, church usher Robert Engle ran to his car, grabbed his gun, and held the shooter at gunpoint until police arrived.
In Texas, Stephen Willeford fired at the gunman and began a chase which ended with the gunman’s truck in a ditch.
If any gun control advocates need proof that responsible gun ownership is a good thing, look no further.
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