A central New York church made headlines over the weekend by posting a sign out front that warns would-be mass shooters, “We say it again, we are not a gun free zone.”
This came one week after the attack in Sutherland Springs, Texas that left 26 church goers, including small children, dead at the hands of a killer who had been drummed out of the Air Force with a domestic violence assault conviction on his record. He was a person who, by law, should not have been allowed to purchase firearms. The Pentagon has launched an investigation into the matter.
Members of the Lighthouse Mexico Church of God aren’t going to suffer the same fate, if they can help it. Reports about the church carried on various news outlets, including WFXG, which reported that, “Many in the congregation say if more churches were armed, there would be fewer mass shootings. At this church, it’s especially important for the women to be prepared. Self-defense classes are offered.”
This isn’t an anomaly, as other churches – in other parts of the country – are also taking steps. The Wall Street Journal carried a piece about a church in Pennsylvania, and KING5 News in Seattle reported on one suburban church that has hired an off-duty police officer. As the saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves.”
For those who balk at the notion of armed self-defense, an Op-Ed Sunday at Fox News by John Lott, author and founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center, details more than a dozen cases in which licensed, legally-armed citizens intervened to stop active shooters. In the process he notes that such stories rarely get media exposure.
Lott also ripped a 2014 FBI report (it was during the Obama administration) that asserted there had been only one occasion between 2000 and 2013 in which someone with a concealed carry permit had stopped a public shooting. Lott’s anecdotes tell a different tale.
Meanwhile, the gun prohibition lobby is pushing its anti-gun agenda, and with state legislatures convening in January, one can hardly lose money betting that the country will see a slew of legislation aimed at further restrictions on gun owners.
Universally in the firearms community, one will find animosity and/or sarcasm toward so-called “gun-free zones.” Such designations have not prevented violent crimes in such areas, whether they are churches, shopping malls, schools, theaters or other venues. “Gun people” understand that, while anti-gunners seem unable to grasp the reality that signs don’t stop determined people from committing mayhem.
Perhaps prayer will help. The safest place to do that appears to be a church in New York.