Guns in church debate gets heated at active shooter training in - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Guns in church debate gets heated at active shooter training in Clinton

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Increasing violence on churches, including the Charleston Massacre last year where nine people were gunned down in bible study. Now there are questions whether faith is enough and proposed legislation to allow firearms in houses of worship.

The question was asked at  an active shooter exercise in a Clinton Church.

What would Jesus do when it comes to having guns in churches to protect yourselves from people walking in to the  house of worship to harm pastors and parishioners?

“I don't think a gun in church would solve the problem, but I think a shooter would think twice,” said Chandler Oswalt.

Oswalt is a deacon at Emanuel Presbyterian Church. He and more than 100 men and women of faith were involved in a real life scenario; an active shooter walks into this church with a gun.

“It is scary to think about it," said Interim Clinton Police chief Michael Gill. "That's why we have to make these plans and see what works."

While Clinton law enforcement and other emergency officials practiced their training, many pastors and parishioners including the Mayor of Clinton are not turning the other cheek on the Mississippi church protection bill that aims to allow guns in churches.

“Church people are trusting people and they are open and they welcome visitors to come in,” said  Mayor Phil Fisher.

They said the Charleston, North Carolina church shooting when a 21 year old  walked into bible calls and opened fire killing six women and three men is a great example.

“Most of the mass shooting have happened in gun free zones," said Oswalt.

As the bill advances to possibly become law, they point out that the safety requirements need to remain to get their support.

“It is perfectly legitimate for at least a few people in churches to have firearms, but I think those people should be vetted carefully," added Oswalt. 

“As long as there is proper training, continuous training and  the church or organization picks a very reliable person that's been screened, then it would be fine," added Mayor Fisher. "Mississippians are used to guns, we're used to being around them."

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