(From an NBC News article published just last week...)
Carl Chinn, founder of the Faith Based Security Network, a nonprofit that offers safety guidance to faith communities, said he is aware of more than 1,000 volunteer-run security teams in houses of worship in the U.S.
According to several security companies and nonprofits that specialize in providing safety training to religious institutions, the growing number of the teams coincides with a string of high-profile attacks that have shown the vulnerability of houses of worship.
The public would be amazed at what goes on behind the scenes in churches — anything from domestic situations involving married couples, to stalking of pastors, to possible kidnapping of kids in custody cases.
“Fifty years ago, you could say no guns should be allowed in church, but times have changed,” said Trampus Taylor, 49, the police chief in Sparta, Missouri. “Shootings happen everywhere.”
Gun control advocates have argued against weapons in houses of worship on the grounds that armed volunteers can cause confusion for law enforcement responding to reports of a shooting.
Jimmy Meeks, a retired police officer and a minister, started his security training company, Sheepdog Seminars, in 2009. Meeks acknowledged that the idea of mixing guns with God is disconcerting to some. But, he said, those who see no reason for guns in churches in 2019 are in denial. “Churches are sitting ducks," Meeks said, noting that houses of worship tend to have multiple entrances and open-door policies that strive to accept everyone, including the emotionally unstable.
Link to full NBC News article from Jan 27, 2019:
- Guns and God: Growing number of churches want armed security
- On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs