INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It’s a debate that has sparked new legislation across the country—should people be allowed to carry guns in churches? Indiana State Senator Jack Sandlin says absolutely.
“We need to let everybody in Indiana know they have the right to protect themselves,” Sandlin said.
Sandlin authored legislation that was signed into law earlier this year. It allows people to carry guns into church even if there’s a school or daycare on the property, which before the law, would have been considered a felony.
“I’ve had conversations with several different churches that have started to set up security teams within their churches as a result of the passage of the statute,” Sandlin said.
On Sunday at a church in Texas, a man pulled out a gun, and opened fire. He killed two people before a member of the church’s security team took out his own gun and killed the shooter with a single shot. Over 200 people were inside the church.
“If they hadn’t had an armed security team in the church, that could’ve gone on for a number of minutes, and then casualty count goes up pretty dramatically,” Sandlin said.
Incidents like this are why some local churches now put a priority on security.
Jack Dodd attends a small church near Kokomo. Dodd and his pastor recently went to an active shooter training. They have plans in place, but don’t yet have armed security.
“We have two individuals, myself and another individual, that sit in the back of the church always in the same spot, very near the door so that we can challenge anybody who walks in,” Dodd said.
Dodd has a background in law enforcement and says he has plenty experience handling firearms. However, he says he still has not decided to bring his gun to church.
“We are a small country church, and we have talked about that,” Dodd said. “We’ve been a little bit resistant to it because you just don’t feel like you need a weapon in church… but then you hear about these kind of situations that come up.”
Sandlin hopes this law will remind Hoosiers they can protect themselves in church, but he also warns that a trained security team may be the best way to protect the congregation.
“I wouldn’t recommend just telling people to bring their guns to church,” Sandlin said. “I think that you have to have a security survey, I think you have to have a plan and know how you’re going to respond.”
“Just having somebody with a firearm is not the answer,” Dodd said. “It must be trained individuals.”