Weapons training for mass shooting
Sheepdog founder David Riggall (left) training students during an active shooter drill.

The Fellowship of the Parks Church has decided the best way to deal with future mass shootings in holy places is to train its own congregants to fight fire with fire.

The Fort Worth, Texas church and its sister campuses have partnered with the local Sheepdog Defense Group to arm church members and train them in threat assessment, first aid, and weapons handling. Effectively, transforming them into volunteer security guards that can respond to mass shooting situations in real-time.

While it may sound strange to some, organizers view it as a depressing sign of the times.

“Ten years ago, this industry was not a thing,” explains police officer and Sheepdog founder David Riggall. Riggall decided to get his training license following the 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown because as he says, “sanctuary means a safe place.”

God and Guns

Much like his newfound client Doug Walker, who leads the interdenominational Fellowship of the Parks Church, Riggall watched helplessly as a 1999 mass shooting at a Forth Worth church left eight dead. In 2017, a gunman killed 26 followers at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas – half of them children.

Walker believes mass shooters will continue to target places of worship, so-called soft targets. Which means his own security team will require better training.

And he’s not the only one training churchgoers.

In Birmingham, Alabama, David Youngstrom is now running a similar operation called Sheepdog Firearms. He offers eight-hour church security courses on “reload drills, concealment carry, weapon malfunction drills, shooting on the move drills, first aid, and force-on-force drills in a response to an active shooter.”

Mass Shootings, Mass Debates

There is definitely a trend to this theme that defies any one faith. Democratic Michigan senator Gary Peters recently announced a bipartisan bill authorizing $75 million in grants to fund everything from surveillance cameras to active-shooter training for religious buildings. That marks a 25% increase from last year. The bill cites the tragic “rise in the number of violent attacks at synagogues, mosques, and churches across the country.”

More recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio have reignited the debate over gun control. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even signaled a willingness to consider some gun legislation this fall. Perhaps even universal background checks?

Obviously, church leaders are not holding their collective breaths, given the current political climate.

But as more churches arm congregants, will that really make churchgoers any safer? Could you imagine the confusion and potential horror of having, not one, but several guns going off in response to an active shooter situation in your own place of worship?

Then again, can thoughts and prayers alone keep you safe?

96 comments

  1. Minister Paul says:

    The answer to the gun killings is NOT MORE GUNS! That is what the Evil NRA wants. The answer lies in preventing crazy people access to guns and outlawing assault weapons. The 2nd ammenment will still be OK. The gun lobby needs to be held accountable for all the killings.

    1. Rev. Gary Shade says:

      Just like GM needs to be held accountable for all the drunk drivers and BIC news to be held accountable for all the arsins.

      What a moronic statement.

      1. Gary Shade says:

        CORRECTION: BIC needs to be held accountable for all the arsons.

        1. John says:

          Don’t forget the folks that make pressure cookers for rice…those ppl should be held responsible for the Boston bombings…an indept security background check and 30 day waiting period for all Insta Pott and other assault pressure cookers.

      2. Nathaniel Robert Hunt says:

        Now I have seen pro gun people want to sue “no gun zones” or limited gun zones

        1. Gene says:

          No guns zones are soft zones where thugs don’t mind taking guns into and can kill and get away! God gave us reasoning ability and that means we must protect from evil! A crook would not go into a police station and hold them up because they will use their guns! God expects us to protect our loved ones!

      3. Mimi says:

        Guns don’t kill people. Sick people kill people.
        Cars don’t kill people. Idiots or distracted drivers behind the wheel kill people.
        Stoves and ovens don’t prepare great meals. The cooks do.

        We need mental health care more than gun control. It’s very obvious,

        1. JILLIAN C HABERMAN says:

          agreed.

          1. Minister Brooke says:

            Thanks for the laugh

    2. Rev. Howard Slayton says:

      I love Jesus, you, and American guns. We must have increased security because as it was on so brilliantly stated, you can’t cure stupid. Guns stop threats.

      1. Rev. Janet Luttrell says:

        I agree, the problem isn’t about guns, if laws about illegal drugs worked, a lot of people would not die of an over dose, when guns are out lawed, only criminals will have them, we all know this.

        I grew up in a home with guns, we didn’t touch them, my children did as well, they went to safety lessons as soon as they were old enough, I believe we have a responsibility issue in this country, when we had two parent homes and some one was watching and TEACHING our kids how to behave, it seems to me we had a much better bunch of kids.

    3. Jerry says:

      I disagree. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. You really need to do a little bit of investigation before casting stones at the gun lobbyist the NRA. It’s not the gun that is evil evil is in the heart of the person using it. Have a blessed day. 18 years ago today 3000 people were killed and not one shot was fired it sounds like you have a very liberal agenda

      1. Mimi says:

        That’s exactly the truth.

      2. Neil says:

        Jerry,
        In Philadelphia several good guys with guns were shot and hospitalized and they had extensive training.
        Casual civilians don’t possess the training and skills that police officers have.
        I’ll send my thoughts and prayers for you to receive healing.

        Rev. Neil

        1. John says:

          Highly trained combat professionals and law enforcement get shot daily…

    4. Rev Kev says:

      Sorry Paul, the problem is not the gun or the NRA. The NRA has done more to address the problem than the church has.
      The church has failed in addressing the problem by not standing up to the radical left and its driving God out of schools and government. No God no morals, no morals no self-control.

    5. terry says:

      the gun lobby is not the problem gun bans will do nothing. every time one of these terrible tragedies happens I am left with questions .and as more details come out about the person who committed the murders. I am left with more questions and no answers.seems like no one in government is interested in finding them answers. about all they are interested in is getting reelected. what happened in the mind and heart of the individual to make them even think of such a vile idea? what and or who caused this person to carry out the crime ? what failed ? these are questions that are never answered.
      keeping though who have serious mental problems from getting guns is a good start .but instead of gun buns the focus should be preventing these tragedies from happening which is by far better mental health care treatment then what we have now. as well as with the clergy. hold the person who committed the crime accountable for their deeds . if others helped them commit the crime them they too should be held accountable.

    6. Rev Ned says:

      Do the computer lobby and the ACLU need to be held responsible for kiddy porn? Do the auto and alcohol industries need to be held responsible for drunk driving?

    7. George G Minga says:

      The gun lobby didn’t shoot people!!!! WTH is wrong with you and people like you who want to blame an inanimate object. Remember minister even Peter carried a sword to the garden.

      1. Tobias says:

        Hi George, Peter did carry a sword and then Jesus rebuked him and told him to throw it down. He was fulfilling a prophecy not giving his followers permission to carry swords. The verse of two swords has been interpreted in a few ways but none agree that it is Jesus condoning violence by his followers. Read all of John 18 in context and understand why Peter had a sword. In addition, the verse most often used is Luke to justify Christians and guns yet most folk don’t study the whole thing and what it stood for overall. I have mentioned it in these threads if one would like to take a look at it. As far as gun ownership, to each their own, but Jesus didn’t condone carrying a gun or taking someone out even in defense. Take his message in its entirety. Most folks, choose verses that fit a viewpoint rather than studying the holy whole of it so to speak.

    8. Robin Muratori says:

      Jesus would never condone any form of violence. The only way to get things right is to bring God and Jesus back into every day life.

      1. Lionheart says:

        I don’t see anywhere that Jesus denounced slavery Robin.

        Luke 12:47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

        Luke 19:27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ”

        Do you mean this Jesus mentioned in Luke? Just asking!

        🦁❤️

      2. John says:

        James 5:4 describes Jesus as the Lord of Sabaoth…it is an Old Testament reference to God as a warrior..Rev.19:13 describes Jesus as clothed with a robe dipped in blood accompanied with the armies of heaven…pretty sure it wasn’t too peaceful for those being judged.

    9. Neil says:

      I so totally agree

    10. Virux says:

      I really don’t understand why people always talk about Mental Health. All other countries in the world have sick people but, they do not have the amount of shootings / Gun related deaths we have. I like numbers so, lets talk about %, if you have a sick person with 4 Magazines 100 rounds each. He will need 10% accuracy to hurt or kill 40 people in less than 3 minutes.
      Nobody is talking about taking away your guns or eliminate the second amendment; This is common sense, nobody needs an AR15, AK47, UZI, etc. for personal protection. Hunters, If you need 50 rounds to kill 1 deer that means you are blind and should not be allow to carry a gun.

    11. Jean Bakula says:

      I agree. The 2nd amendment was written at a time when it was necessary for rural areas to gather militias to protect themselves. We have adequate military to do that now. And many of our police stations, even in small towns, are overarmed and have vehicles of war. Nobody needs an assault weapon. I understand people in certain states are raised in a culture where learning to shoot a gun, perhaps for an animal for dinner, is a rite of passage. So I don’t think anyone should ever be allowed to enter a home and take a gun away from anyone. But any crazy person should not have access to a weapon of war.

      Teens are getting too traumatized about going to school for fear of being shot to death. People don’t read the whole 2nd amendment.

    12. Minister Bodine says:

      As a man of God doesn’t allow myself or my loved ones to be left unprotected from the unhealthy, nor unholy. It is our spiritual responsibility to defend our rights and our lives by all means God has blessed all men to equalize . Also, as people who claim to be protectors and shepherds, it’s very inappropriate to condemn others who are willing to be mindful of our rights as a HUMAN. If you’re unwilling to protect your flock to the last grain of your soul stand aside and the real shepherds your flock also.

  2. Rev. Gary Shade says:

    I teach carry class and have trained entire congregations, not just church security.

    We also teach a class from time to time titled The Bible and Self Defense”

    1. Rich says:

      Luke 22:36-38 where Christ tells his followers to sell their cloak to buy a sword.

      1. Tobias says:

        Hi Rich, that verse is frequently referenced but often misunderstood and not read in the context of the situation. Christ did not tell his followers forever more…he was talking to the apostles and when they said that they had two swords he replied that’s enough…when you look at Jesus ‘s teachings overall…none of which he teaches advocates violence (turn the other cheek, love thine enemy, following the shall not murder in context also says that if you are even angry at another you are not living up to the teachings) so if one looks at that then it would make no sense which is why it doesn’t in the context that people use it. He says he is fulfilling a prophecy. When he is arrested and Peter uses the sword, he commands Peter put it up and that the one that uses the sword will die by the sword in essence. Jesus’s teachings and guns don’t go together…that’s not me saying it…that’s Jesus himself.

        1. Minister Shawna says:

          And I thank you for pointing this out. Please, more guns cannot be the answer. Most law abiding citizens ARE “good guys” until something pushes them over the edge and their cheese falls right off their cracker. Since they already have the gun, their actions are already in motion.

          1. George G Minga says:

            Yes I am a good guy. Even when Jesus said two swords are enough he still acknowledged they were necessary.

  3. Wayne Stevens says:

    Personally I think this idea makes a great deterrent because quite honestly I think of people that going to these places and knowing if I could shock themselves I think twice both of these people are cowards begin with I wonder why they wouldn’t pick such places as soft targets life places of worship and shopping malls schools hospitals whatever else you can think of I don’t like to see a type of violence however people do need to protect themselves or at work or at least that’s encouraged violence American the perpetrators think they’ll get the same or at least get shot themselves anyway it’s something worth while thinking about Reverend Wayne

    1. Rich says:

      I concur, armed good guys DO deter the bad guys!

  4. Lionheart says:

    Yes, I’m all for it. Get the congregants trained to fight fire with fire to save themselves from whacko nut jobs because there’s no way their mythical god is going to help out. He’s too busy doing more important work like helping soccer players, and American Football players score goals. You can tell that’s true by the way the players look up to the sky afterwards and thank their god rather than take credit for themselves for their own talents.

    🦁♥️

  5. T'Keren Valmaz says:

    Yeah uhm no, actual followers of the teachings of Jesus whom some wrongly felt was the messiah are 100% pacifist. Every pre catholic record of christian traditions makes this clear. Even during the rise of Islam christians were well known to be unwilling even to defend themselves from animals. In fact the so called prophet of islam wrote out a promise to the monks of the order of saint catherine stating that it was the duty of all followers of the islamic faith who were not bound by such a dogma to offer protection and aid to their christian brethren.

    This is another clear indicator that the false christian equivalent of the taliban is on the rise. You think these people wont soon be thinking of how they need to defend themselves and “their” country from those they view as evil sinners?

    If one genuinely believes in the christian faith they should have no fear of being killed and in fact to some extent welcome it, for as long as its not by their own hand it just gets them into heaven quicker. There are many christian apologetic books out there that more or less say this very thing, some even suggest its best to die as a child before the age of accountability so their soul never is in danger of being taken by satan.

  6. Nathaniel Robert Hunt says:

    Security yes, but not an open carry free for all , as alot of religions like mine ban weapons near the altar

    1. Lionheart says:

      Why is that? Don’t people get shot near altars? Is that where God looks after people, or is it that mass murderers know that weapons are banned near altars?

      Just asking!

      🦁♥️

      1. Nathaniel Robert Hunt says:

        Tradition states no fighting/killing/blood shed in the altar /Deity statue room, as its the most sacred part of the temple.

        1. Lionheart says:

          So are you seriously thinking that a mass murderer will honor that?

          🦁❤️

    2. John A Anderson, CD, CIF Mons ON says:

      In Seax, there is a “security guard” who escorts in those performing the ritual, but stays a minimum of 6 feet (2 metres) from the altar space. If they enter within 10 feet (3m), they ask for (and usually are granted) permission. Realize the only armanent there on their person is a sword, which is, under most conditions, peacebound (attached to the scabbard so that it cannot be drawn in anger), unless it is being used in a sword arch. Being in Canada, we don’t have the same problem with mass shootings (15 since 1888), but all who are there, totally new, have usually filled the Summoner’s shoes at one point in time or another, so they are all able to assist. Would you willingly approach a group of people who are all aware of how to handle a weapon, and who mostly have them within arms reach?

  7. William Waugh says:

    Personal protection weapons (handguns) should be owned and carried by anyone qualified to handle it safely. They are not a threat to republicans because they are not (typically) weapons of mass destruction. And not to dems for the same reason. In fact, dems would probly do WAY better if they dropped the weapons issue, other than, a ban on assault weapons. If potential killers know that potential victims are armed and trained and the killer can only access the same weapons they have, it may completely take away the. perceived advantage. …….for the rest of us, a handgun with 6 – 9 rounds is assault weapon enough. ……..I do vote democratic but banning more than assault weapons is absurd.

    1. Rich says:

      define “assault weapon” number of rounds [6-9] does not matter really does it? other than splitting that hair, I concur with you.

    2. JASON D BENDER says:

      The Dems dropped firearm issues long ago. Only recently has the issue of universal background checks started coming up again. The advantage the killers have is surprise, and that one is tough to defeat. Superior numbers is probably part of the answer. I am a lib, but I concede: an armed society is a polite society.

      1. Rich says:

        Jason you are a breath of fresh air! —Luke 22:36-38 where Christ tells his followers to sell their cloak to buy a sword. Why would Christ say this? So that they could defend themselves, RIGHT? I believe so… bottom line though is that is up to the individual to decide what is best for them and those under their stewardship ….

      2. Tobias says:

        So, folks mention how Chicago has the most stringent gun laws it has one of the highest gun violence numbers…well, that cuts both ways…if an armed society is a polite one than no one would be killing anyone…we have the highest gun ownership per capita of any nation yet…murders, killings, etc…occur all the time…an armed society is not a polite society, a polite society is a polite society…unfortunately fear of another has less power than respecting an another. Fear is short lived and often leads to rash decisions…we will always have criminals…that’s human nature..now I’m speaking of this from the Christian Faith…if not a Christian well I suppose one can have at it.

        1. Rich says:

          the error in your Chicago example is that the law abiding civilian good guys don’t have guns. the bad guys do not fear the police….. The is the big issue the good guys follow the rules, the bad guys don’t…. btw I have interviewed thousands of burglars and armed robbers over the years MOST said that they would not have done their thing IF the victims had been armed.

          1. Tobias says:

            Hi Rich, I’m curious in what role did you interview thousands of burglars and armed robbers? Detective? In addition, I would mention that the assertion that Chicago doesn’t allow good guys with guns doesn’t seem to agree with their current laws. Concealed carry and ownership are completely legal. That said, I’ve taught thousands of folks how to shoot and served as a police officer and military member. Most of the good guys with guns argument is Hollywood. Most folks that carry concealed have not been adequately trained or tested under stress conditions. Here, in my state, a military member with an honorable discharge can simply take in their 214 and pay a fee and acquire a carry permit…training assumed? I can tell you for a fact that the majority of folks I trained in the military would need additional training. A civilian and non-recognized (security or law) person engaging during one of these scenarios has a greater chance of getting shot or hurting others than stopping an action. However, my point of a polite society makes a polite society still stands…having trained law enforcement is fine but bringing guns into churches doesn’t jive with Christian teachings…it just doesn’t…straight from the Bible. As I said though, if one is not Christian then have at it. Just my .02.

  8. Rev. Nobody says:

    If one person can give me a proof positive as to what a mass killer looks like I’ll be all for it. How are you to know that the church member being armed with the weapon is not going to become a mass murderer. Just because they claim to be a Christian does mean they’re sane enough to have a weapon. I don’t know what the right way to truly protect ourselves and our families from wack jobs but arming everyone is definitely not the answer. Most people that say they are Christians are just saying it because it sounds good to claim that they are. Christian’s lie the same as none Christians. As long as people choose to blame other people for there problems and down falls in life I think this will continue. Christian vs Muslim, Catholic vs Protestant, Republican vs Democrat or any race vs another race is not the way to solve this issue. It just makes us all a bunch of hypocrites. I’d also like to state that this the US of America, America actually is South America, Central America, United States, and Canada all make up America. So let’s stop all of this and come together to make the American continent and better place for all. There are evil people all over this world. When we all look to find fault with others we all become a bunch crazies. I hope someone will finally realize hate and malice is not the way to survive on this planet.

  9. Tobias says:

    As this article concerns Christianity, there is a wonderful movie called “The Mission” with Jeremy Irons (Plays a Jesuit Priest) and Robert De Niro (Slave trader turned priest). One is a man of peace, and one was a man that used violence to make a living. When the tribe they are serving comes under attack, they respond to it in different ways. When one looks at the New Testament, overall Jesus emphasizes that the place after physical death is with God. This frees up the person of this world, to live by the tenets of loving their enemy, turning the other cheek, forgiving 7 times 77 and so forth. It is a calling to respond beyond our own human desire of self preservation. In essence, if one lives with that love, then their place is assured in heaven. It is counter to how we would actually react and that’s the point. On the other side, the character that De Niro plays picks up a rifle to protect the tribe…which one is right? It depends on ones view of what comes after…I would highly encourage folks to watch the movie. It is definitely a human decision to think on and live with wherever we stand on the issue.

    1. minister james says:

      well said, Tobias. This may be the conundrum inherent in all of the great religions, attempting to live an enlightened and fearless life in what is all-too-often a dark and menacing plane of existence. A better day to us all.

  10. Quasi says:

    More guns do NEVER make us safer.

    1. Lionheart says:

      But try telling that to the families of those who have been gunned down, when the victims only line of defense is to hide under a table hoping they won’t be seen.

      🦁♥️

      1. Rich says:

        Valid point Lionheart!

  11. minister james says:

    Given this country’s number of ACCIDENTAL-discharge firearm deaths annually, I await the pronouncements of those assessing the first instance (and it will happen) of this in a place of worship. ‘Friendly-fire collateral damage’, perhaps? I continue to wonder why (and I would appreciate a sincere explanation, probably numerous explanations) the U.S. has had a relative gap in the level of general public armament upon our transitioning from the days of pioneering and the ‘Wild West’? May we all find a better day.

  12. Rich says:

    Ref — Given this country’s number of ACCIDENTAL-discharge firearm deaths annually, I await the pronouncements of those assessing the first instance (and it will happen) of this in a place of worship. ‘Friendly-fire collateral damage’, perhaps? — That IS a concern…. BUT stop and consider that MOST folks drive to church and then drive home [or walk along streets] how many people are injured or killed due to accidents on the road. points to ponder —-ymmv

    1. minister james says:

      Rich-but your response doesn’t address my question. Following the ‘drive to church’ deflection (?) you posit, does this imply that anticipating a sudden shootout, most likely involving a far-fewer number of adequately-trained people than those that are operating motor vehicles (and even that number seems to have been in decline for some time, now) should be another ‘new normal’ added to day-to-day existence in our society? If so, my question, (which is not anti-or-pro-gun) is what are the reasons that are returning us to a ‘Wild West’ shoot-it-out daily society that had virtually disappeared for a hundred years? A better day to you, and to all of us.

      1. Rich says:

        When it is your time, you will die. Until then you have to do your best to stay alive and healthy so you can be of service. Willingly being defenseless does not make you or anyone else safer. Gun free zones have proven to be a failure as it just provides a target rich environment for the bad guys. I and most rational people wear a seat belt when in a vehicle, does that mean that we WANT to be in a car wreck? Nope! It means that we know that it can happen is all. Discussion on boards like this do not change most folks minds on this type of topic because it is an irrational topic. In situations like in this thread the passive people get killed and don’t reproduce, hence their genes are removed. BTW there are several cases/words in scripture that are mus-translated example as it relates here is Thou shall not kill is incorrect as it should read thou shall not MURDER there is a difference. God is the same regardless of the time, CORRECT? with that in mind consider – Luke 22:36-38 where Christ tells his followers to sell their cloak to buy a sword. Why would Christ say this? So that they could defend themselves, RIGHT? I believe so… I know several congratulations where EVERY adult is armed-including the pastor. IF someones wants to be defenseless that is their issue AS LONG AS they do not dictate to others being peacefully armed for self defense. — In the pre-mortal life Satan wanted to MAKE all of us return to heaven after our earthly life. Christ wanted us to exercise OUR agency to decide for ourselves about returning to God in heaven….. WHICH plan did God choose for us? ymmv

        1. Tobias says:

          Hi Rich, I addressed that verse above but that verse is frequently referenced but often misunderstood and not read in the context of the situation. Christ did not tell his followers forever more…he was talking to the apostles and when they said that they had two swords he replied that’s enough…when you look at Jesus ‘s teachings overall…none of which he teaches advocates violence (turn the other cheek, love thine enemy, following the shall not murder in context also says that if you are even angry at another you are not living up to the teachings) so if one looks at that then it would make no sense which is why it doesn’t in the context that people use it. He says he is fulfilling a prophecy. When he is arrested and Peter uses the sword, he commands Peter put it up and that the one that uses the sword will die by the sword in essence. Jesus’s teachings and guns don’t go together…that’s not me saying it…that’s Jesus himself.

        2. minister james says:

          Rich-with all due respect, I’m not seeing a response to my query-HOW did we get to this ‘new normal’ in our society where it appears to be necessary to some here that EVERYONE should be armed, when, for roughly a hundred years, most of our nation didn’t operate under this mindset. As I am not a Christian, using scripture illustrates your worldview to me, but it doesn’t give me a tangible response to my question. As a former 1stCav combat medic, I’ve certainly seen too, too many, soldier and civilian alike, ‘meet their time’, when, for whatever reason, I did not. It saddens me that the non-war-zone nation I was fortunate enough return to so many years ago appears to be transitioning into one. A better day to you, and to all of us.

          1. Lionheart says:

            “for roughly a hundred years, most of our nation didn’t operate under this mindset.”

            I know these times are odd james, but unfortunately, society and the way we live, has moved on, but not for the better. Crime seems to be getting exponentially worse at an alarming rate and at a level not seen since the days of the Wild West when everyone needed a gun to have some remote possibility of staying alive. We see old men and women on the street just getting sucker punched for no other reason than the thrill it gives to those inflicting the assault. Drive-by shootings are becoming common place. Home invasions are the same. People are becoming desperate to get money to buy drugs and will do anything to get it. So….bottom line, these are the times we are now living in, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the days of Al Capone.

            So all I can say is: Welcome to Dodge Pilgrim!

            🦁♥️

          2. minister james says:

            Lion-thanks for trying, I KNOW things have ‘moved on’. I was hoping for some observations from those here on WHY things have ‘moved on’, and ‘not for better’. As I stated earlier, my question wasn’t pro-or-anti-gun. Perhaps our ‘Dodge’ is now in nothing more than a frantic race to the bottom, with no visions towards improving our general lot (the historic arc of most great nations/civilizations). I’m old, and will be leaving this plane of existence sooner than later, but hey-my generally bleak view of the future could be another’s paradise?

            May you, and all of us, find that better day.

          3. Lionheart says:

            I too am close to moving on in a pine box. I believe society in general has taken a downward turn due to looser morals, or none at all, and drugs can take a bow as to being also a major culprit. Even the movie industry is not blameless. I remember watching Westerns when a “baddie” would gets shot “once”, and you rarely saw fake blood. Then along came Paladin, who I think was the first cowboy to empty his gun into an unlucky varmint. Shocking though that might have been at the time, it pales into insignificance of todays movies where you see peoples skulls exploding from a bullet in movies, and computer games where people can be destroyed. People have slowly become desencitized to it all, even to the point of acting things out in real life.

            Bring back Hopalong Cassidy, or the Lone Ranger! 😜

            🦁♥️

          4. Tobias Neal says:

            Lionheart,
            Honestly, this is something I hear often, but it is not actually true. It feels true and often is perceived as true, but it is not true. If one studies history, the world is actually a much better place. Folks tend to forget about World Wars and entire generations being wiped out, the dark ages, the plague, torture, quack cures, people being gassed, burned, and so on…violence has always been a part of human history and there was no golden age.

            The difference is that now it is a 24 hour news cycle and everyone has a camera…so whatever occurs is seen…folks take that to mean that there is more of it…nope just being covered and being seen more. Think back to world wars…maybe there was a couple of pictures, news articles, and that took time to publish and spread. Now, we have cameras in the foxholes and cameras on the missiles…we have coverage from the front lines in real time. We have blogs, podcasts, commentaries, Twitter, Facebook, and on and on. Less overall violence but way more coverage of the violence we do have leading folks to believe that there is a massive uptick.

            There have been cures for a variety of ailments, scientific breakthroughs, we can regrow tissues, create organs, a good portion of slavery has been wiped out, there is greater acceptance of people of different creeds and nations, and so forth. Now, I am not saying it is done nor that it still doesn’t occur, but this belief by folks that the world is somehow worse off is led by a media that sells it because people want to buy it…an old adage was that sex sells so does drama.

            The other uptick is that when one pulls away from the standard media and looks for those sources where people are doing well, curing things, discovering things, protecting others, and so forth…one can find that also in abundance…there was an old saying along the lines that said that if you think the world is evil…you are right…if you think the world is wonderful…you are also right. It is where we put our attention…and frankly in the great song of things…it is the movement of mankind. We will rise, fall, shift, change, as we have always done.

      2. Minister Bodine says:

        Minister James, if you think that the ravages of constant images and even the reporting of mass shootings do not directly affect the violence in society, you need to do more research before proclaiming you’re RIGHT because you’re dead wrong! I’LL let you do your homework, i.e. Arizona states research on this issue . Guns aren’t the issue no more than people making and promoting these acts on television.

  13. Rod Gesner says:

    We should Not have Different Standards for Schools and Churches Safety; Than We Do For Justice and Money Courthouses and Banks/Biz’s Have Extensive Security… Why Shouldn’t Schools and Churches?
    Our Children Should Be BETTER Protected Than Our Money or Politicians;
    and if that means Metal Detectors Etc… instead of Arming the Students or Parishoners They Still Need Professional Armed Door Guards and Roving Backup So Be it.. Anyone That Thinks We can Ban Assault Weapons or Pass Laws That Dissarms Hategroups and Psycho/Terrorists Has No Idea of The Number of Guns Already out there..Strict Bans Will Only increase Gun Thefts;
    and Encourage Violent Refusal To Be Disarmed From Those Unwilling To Give up Their Right to Protect themselves and Their Families;

    Biometric Locks and use of Built in Weapons Cams That upload any time the Weapon is Used would be Nice but it ain’t happening Easy and Any Electronics Will Fail After EMP or other overloads

  14. Lionheart says:

    There’s no need to worry. Any god worth his exalted position as a deity wouldn’t allow anyone to die in a place of worship, let alone a massacre.

    Oh……but wait!!!!!

    🦁♥️

  15. Rich says:

    General comments and observations on this topic of being armed generally and in church……When it is your time, you will die. Until then you have to do your best to stay alive and healthy so you can be of service. Willingly being defenseless does not make you or anyone else safer. Gun free zones have proven to be a failure as it just provides a target rich environment for the bad guys. I and most rational people wear a seat belt when in a vehicle, does that mean that we WANT to be in a car wreck? Nope! It means that we know that it can happen is all. Discussion on boards like this do not change most folks minds on this type of topic because it is an irrational topic. In situations like in this thread the passive people get killed and don’t reproduce, hence their genes are removed. BTW there are several cases/words in scripture that are mus-translated example as it relates here is Thou shall not kill is incorrect as it should read thou shall not MURDER there is a difference. God is the same regardless of the time, CORRECT? with that in mind consider – Luke 22:36-38 where Christ tells his followers to sell their cloak to buy a sword. Why would Christ say this? So that they could defend themselves, RIGHT? I believe so… I know several congratulations where EVERY adult is armed-including the pastor. IF someones wants to be defenseless that is their issue AS LONG AS they do not dictate to others being peacefully armed for self defense. — In the pre-mortal life Satan wanted to MAKE all of us return to heaven after our earthly life. Christ wanted us to exercise OUR agency to decide for ourselves about returning to God in heaven….. WHICH plan did God choose for us? —-

  16. Lionheart says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EwJYRVixIU

    Don’t you just love it when a coward, who thinks he’s all big and powerful with a gun, tries to rob some women at gunpoint, only to find at his cost by losing his life, that one of them carries her own gun and defends herself and others.

    This guy was taken off the streets for good, and so he should have been.

    🦁♥️

  17. Enos Bacon says:

    Romans 13:4

    For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

    1. Tobias says:

      Hi Enos:

      Romans is an interesting study. Paul is sending letters to folks in Rome along with the early churches there. When you read all of Romans especially around this verse, it refers to Christians abiding by the government (minister of God) that has been appointed by God. It also lays out that the government has the responsibility to take care of wrongdoers as Christians are not to bring swords, fight, etc. That would be against Jesus’s teachings and the new covenant. It also lets Christians know that if they abide peacefully and with love then they will work within God’s appointed government and not bring its wrath. Jesus was quite clear that we were to love our enemy, turn the other cheek, forgive 7 times 77, if we are robbed to give our cloak also, and so forth, the good Samaritan as a further example i.e. a person helping someone and helping them recover even though they should hate them. Samaritans and Jews hated each other as context.

      His totality of teachings doesn’t justify picking up a gun even in defense. That is why treasures are in heaven not here. It frees the Christian up to live as Christ asked because they know even to the point of death that they are dying in his name therefore there is a place in heaven…now…that said, most folks don’t like that idea so they pick several small verses out of context and without study to justify gun use. It is one of the most interesting Christian viewpoints…God and Guns. The Old Testament was one thing and when Christ came he created a new covenant, a new way of being.

      Since he was God made flesh, those would be the rules we should follow…just my .02. It goes against everything we as humans believe as far as self-preservation which is the point and one of the reasons I believe he said that narrow is the way because few of us would ever extinguish ourselves in self-sacrifice as he did for others. Just my thoughts.

      1. Minister Bodine says:

        Luke 22:36 “He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” we who ignore the word as a whole, is of ignorance of the word. H.Bodine

        1. Tobias says:

          Minister Bodine, You are correct…those who ignore the word as a whole are ignorant of the word. It is just my suggestion that you read all of the passage you quoted along with studying the passage and it’s meaning (fulfilling a prophecy not directing his followers to arm up) along with what comes after they are told to buy a sword, “two is enough” then when Peter uses the sword Jesus rebukes him and tells him to put it up and all that use a sword will die by one and so forth…There are several places within this thread that go in to further explain that passage and why it was said…Jesus in no way condoned Christians picking up guns even in defense. It is counter to all that he taught.

  18. Pastor Dave says:

    I am sure that learning of this news, Christ is weeping for the price paid on Calvary and for his teachings of turning the other cheek.

  19. Preacher says:

    If you’re not prepared to defend yourself, you have no right to expect someone else to do it for you.

    The big issue these days is the fact that too many people buy a gun, learn to load it and think they’re Rambo. You can defend yourself by shooting to incapacitate instead of killing. But, that means you actually have to learn how to use the weapon properly and take responsibility for your actions.

  20. Mimi says:

    Guns don’t kill people. People with mental issues kill people. Solution? More mental health involvement
    Cars don’t kill people. Distracted or otherwise careless drivers kill people.
    Stoves and ovens aren’t responsible for good meals. Cooks are.
    Pencils don’t record information. The people using them too.

    It’s all pretty clear. We need more mental health intervention. We need parents to be less politically correct with their children and get more involved with their lives. Know who they hang out with. Know the parents of the friends they hang out with. Know as best you can where they and and who they are with and what they’re doing. Parents need to stop being afraid of their children.

  21. ray says:

    Peter carried a sword and used it when he felt threatened

  22. Neil says:

    WoW,
    So many of you seem to ignore or miss the point.
    The guns don’t kill people argument is idiotic as it’s really people with guns kill people.
    That’s why we don’t openly sell maching guns or nuclear weapons to just anyone.

    Rev Neil

    1. Minister Bodine says:

      Rev. Please check your grammar while trying to make your point, it really dispels your message when your words are incoherent. I disagree with you but, I can’t make an accurate statement when I can’t decrypt your statement due to misspellings.

  23. David says:

    What Would Jesus Do?
    “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” -Matthew 26:52
    These people may feel safe, but they are not followers of Jesus.

    1. Minister Bodine says:

      JOHN 10, 14-15 . I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep, and they know me just as my Father knows me and I know my Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”

  24. Secretary3rd says:

    Many large churches have always had armed citizens in their church.
    In Illinois to carry you need a State Police issues card just to own ammo and a weapon. Training to carry said weapon.
    2000 years ago Jews were not allow to carry swords, bows and arrows, even slings were banned by Rome.

    1. Brian Balke says:

      And on the way to Gethsemane Jesus prohibited them from carrying more than a second sword.

      1. Lionheart says:

        The Life Of Brian 😜

        Wow! It sounds as though you were right there. You are so detailed Brian.

        Being as Jesus was totally alone in the garden of Gethsemane, sweating blood from every pore during his supplication, perhaps you can explain who it was that recorded the event for it to end up in the Bible, being as no one was with him? Just asking!

        🦁❤️

        1. Brian Balke says:

          Please reread my comment. I said “on the way to.” The prohibition occurred in the Passover dining hall. See John’s Gospel.

          And you never know – I might have been there.

    2. John says:

      The Jews of 2000 years ago were being oppressed by Rome. The easiest way to subjugate an entire population is strip away their ability to defend themselves. 2014 Venezuelan laws stripped gun ownership from their citizens…2016 those same ppl were lined up to buy rotted meat and their ration of toilet paper..2019..the military began using deadly force on unarmed citizens forced to eat pets and zoo animals…pretty good leson

  25. Mike L says:

    As a strict constitutionalist who spent over 20 years, including two combat tours in Vietnam, serving America in uniform, I believe there should be no restrictions on the type of arms a US Citizen can bear. The Constitution does not apply any limits, in fact prohibits them, so adding more is unconstitutional.

    As a human being who has seen more than enough bloodshed, I believe that there are only two possible ways to reduce the gun-related violence in America. The better option would be to identify and help the people who are at risk of committing such violence before it happens. The lazy and cheap (Americans’ preferred method for anything and everything) route is by Constitutional amendment that would institute the necessary limits on weapon ownership and access.

    My oath to defend the Constitution did not lapse when I left the military. If there is an organization working for an amendment to limit ownership of/access to firearms, let me know – I’ll be more than happy to climb on that bandwagon and blow my horn for it.

  26. Robert Steinmetz says:

    God gave us the ingenuity to craft the spear and to design the gun who’s use provides food and protection for our families and communities.

    Our forefathers believed that individual gun ownership was so important they wrote it into the United state’s constitution. Our country asks of every citizen who enlists in the armed forces to defend the United states constitution with his/her life.

    The wolf comes to us disguised as a sheep and tells us give up our guns for the whole of our society, a vulnerability we cannot afford.

    What will you say when asked to give up your belief in God.

  27. Michael J McCormick says:

    Incredible discussion of many sides. First time commentor. I can only add this.. Listen to “Ball of confusion” . A 60’s tune that is still valid. Does it ever change*

  28. A druid says:

    As an observer of the firearms situation since the fifties I have noticed:
    First: In the aftermath of the second world war everybody had guns, but “Gun Violence” was pretty much limited to robbery and occasional family tragedy. The only mass shooter was a high school rotc who climbed the clock tower at a texas university.
    Second: With the Kennedy shootings the public decided that the country needed restrictive gun laws.
    Third: With the unpopularity of the viet nam conflict the perception of veterans was seriously degraded and the public trended to rely not on personal responsibility for it’s safety but to delegate this responsibility to the police.
    Fourth: Some time later two high school student misfits who had been ostracized and bullied by their peers took guns to school and committed the first school massacre.
    Fifth: Due to the enormous publicity this accrued it seems to have become a popular means to accrue fame by the socially anonymous misfit.
    Sixth: During this time span the public has clamored for more gun control despite the fact that disarming the general public in favor of delegating personal defence to the authorities has been proven not to work. The politicians have acceded to this, being careful not to disarm themselves and their publicly funded bodyguards.
    Seventh: The inner city violence problems are attributable to the gangs which are in effect private armies in opposition to the police and not really factors in the mass shooting problem.

    My conclusions are that we require an armed citizenry for defense until the police arrive. As far as the assault weapon controversy I could probably be convinced that their ownership could be safely limited to honorably discharged veterans since this is the group specified by the second amendment.
    Our tax money would be much better spent on universal mental health.
    These are just my personal observations.

  29. Brian Balke says:

    To reframe the initial question: do you imagine that Jesus will allow you into heaven with a firearm attached to your body? Obviously not. If you want to get into heaven, then, you need to begin working IN THIS LIFE to condition yourself to renounce firearms. Because if you take it to the grave with you, you’re going to find yourself carrying that attachment to the judgment seat.

    1. Brian Balke says:

      Just to complete the lesson: heaven is by definition a place in which every thought becomes a reality. If you have an attachment to a gun, it will manifest, and as Jesus is the Prince of Peace, he will not allow any instrument of war into his realm. If you want to go to heaven, you must renounce your attachment to all forms of violence.

  30. Minister Elizabeth says:

    I am not here to dispute guns but I want all of God’s children safe, if that means a few members of a church arm themselves then so be it. That doesn’t mean start your own church military. That means if you have police officers who go to your church let them bring their duty weapon. If you have soldiers home, let them be armed. Only those who are trained to protect. If you have a few who carry concealed ok, they are taught to think first. We want God’s children safe.

  31. John says:

    We actually already have that set up in our church…considering the substantially large amount of cash taken up for the poor, and other finances needed by the church, it is not uncommon to have thousands of dollars ripe for the picking by the sick and twisted in today’s society. Gun free zones= shooting fish in a barrel…

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