Texas pastor to start carrying handgun when preaching

A pastor in Sullivan City, Texas, said he would start bringing a handgun with him while preaching from the pulpit, a change that was prompted by the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs which killed 26 worshippers on Nov. 5.

(REUTERS / Jonathan Bachman)A law enforcement officer guards the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. November 7, 2017.

Pastor Jaime Chapa said his congregation in El Faro Bible Church has about the same number of members as FBC in Sutherland Springs. Since he said it was his responsibility to protect his flock and they cannot yet afford to pay for security guards, he will start allowing three licensed persons to carry their firearms during worship services, ABC 15 relayed.

"There will be three armed (licensed) persons at all times at every service," said Pastor Chapa. "Nobody needs to know who they are, but, our church will be protected."

The First Christian Church in Kernersville, North Carolina, has started installing security cameras as part of their response to the Texas church shooting. However, the church had already formed a security team 10 years ago, and local police help protect houses of worship on Sundays.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, the Barron County Sheriff's Department has urged church leaders to prepare their congregation for situations similar to the one that happened at FBC in Texas. Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said they always teach people to run if the shooter is not nearby, Fox 9 reported.

In addition, Sheriff Fitzgerald warned that mass shootings can happen anywhere and at any time, so it is important to be prepared always. He acknowledged that the incident was a sad topic, but they have to discuss the issue and practice what to do in worst case scenarios.

Fitzgerald's team holds active shooter training seminars in the region. They use airsoft guns during the trainings in schools, churches, and other workplaces. They have already conducted simulation drills and lectures at the Red Cedar Church in Rice Lake six months ago.