Friday, Apr 10, 2020

Guns in Church: Half of U.S. Churches Now Enlist Armed Security

Survey: Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Baptist churches are most likely to have church volunteers carry guns.

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The likelihood of guns in church grows.

In the aftermath of several high-profile church shootings, most Protestant pastors say their congregations have taken some precautions to protect those in attendance.

Since 2000, 19 fatal shootings have taken place at Christian churches, while gunmen have also taken lives at other religious sites like Jewish synagogues, a Sikh temple and an Amish school.

Around 4 in 5 Protestant pastors (80%) say their church has some type of security measure in place when they gather for worship, according to a survey from Nashville-based LifeWayResearch.

“Churches are some of the most common gatherings in any community, and that makes them targets,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Most churches understand this and have responded in some way.”

(Editor’s note: Last week, President Donald Trump signed new legislation authorizing $375 million in federal grants to help houses of worship and other nonprofits improve their capacities to defend against violence.)

Security specifics

The most common form of preparation is making an intentional plan. Almost 2 in 3 pastors (62%) say their church has an intentional plan for an active shooter situation.

The more people who show up to worship services each week, the more likely the church is to have made plans for a potential gunman.

Pastors of churches with 250 or more in attendance (77%) and those with 100 to 249 (74%) are more likely to have an intentional plan than those with 50 to 99 in attendance (58%) or those with less than 50 in their worship service each week (45%).

More than a quarter of churches (28%) have radio communication among security personnel.

African American pastors (47%) and pastors of other ethnicities (46%) are almost …

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