Something unusual is happening in Haslet, Texas. Pastors from different churches decided to train and arm churchgoers with guns for everybody to be prepared in case gunmen come around.
Recent news reports showed how gunmen have also target churches. In 2017, many people were shot dead inside a house of worship in rural Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Mass shootings have caused deaths and anxiety on people. And due to these gunmen attacks, head pastors decided to start training and arming believers with guns.
Not all security experts support this idea, due to it seems to be nonsense that churches around the country where welcoming strangers is a religious practice grapple with how to secure spaces to fight against strangers.
A niche industry trains civilians to protect their churches using the techniques and equipment of law enforcement. It simulated gunfights for people to prepare.
David Riggall, a Texas police officer whose company trains churchgoers to volunteer as security guards said: “Ten years ago, this industry was not a thing, I mean, sanctuary means a safe place.”
Some pastors said the word security wasn´t in his mind, but after many attacks, their thinking changed.
Pastor Doug Walker, 51, said there wasn’t a single event that prompted his church to decide its guards needed more training. But Riggall said that after mass shootings congregations reach out.
“Every time the news comes on and there’s another shooting in a school or church or something like that, the phone starts ringing,” Riggall said.
The Fellowship of the Parks allows congregants to have concealed weapons in church. But Doug Walker, the pastor, said that other than security, people carrying openly are asked to put their guns away or leave.
“If people open carry who are not uniformed that can be very unsettling,” Walker said. “You may not know if that person is a possible shooter or criminal, so we try to balance it.”