As he does every Sunday, the Rt. Rev. Council Nedd II, an Anglican rector, will put on his collar and robes to offer Mass at his central Pennsylvania church. Now, he is considering wearing something else with his religious vestments: his handgun.
As a Pennsylvania state constable, Dr. Nedd can bring his gun just about everywhere—to the grocery store, to the park and to synagogues and other houses of worship, where he often acts as security. His church was the one place where he went unarmed.
“Weapons do not belong in church,” he said. But, as a bishop, he has “a responsibility to protect the flock,” he added.
One week after a shooting at a Texas church left 26 dead and 20 more wounded, congregations gathering for worship around the country Sunday are once again facing the question of security. Long the last frontier where many gun owners went unarmed, the faithful are now considering whether they should bring firearms to their houses of worship as well.
Many who live near Sutherland Springs, Texas, where last week’s shooting took place, said they didn’t bring their weapons into their houses of worship.
Tomie Barker, who attends Christ Lutheran Church of Elm Creek in Seguin, Texas, about 15 miles north of Sutherland Springs, said her husband didn’t have the firearm he is licensed to carry on him last Sunday when their church was locked down following the shooting at the nearby First Baptist Church. But, she said, he plans to have it with him this Sunday.
“Why would we take a gun to church? Church and school—we feel like we ought to be safe,” she said on Saturday, nearly a week after the shooting. “But he’s not leaving home without it now.”
Ms. Barker, 60, thinks other worshipers will feel the same, and said she told her pastor that the church should probably make note of who is armed in case another emergency arises.
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