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Guns in Church Buildings

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On December 29th of last year a shooter walked into the West freeway church of Christ opened fire and killed two of their members the head of security then returned fire and in less than six seconds ended the situation could this happen at your congregation are you prepared for such an event as this tonight we’re going to talk about guns in the church building we’re going to have as our guest Kevin Sutton an experienced police officer and Matt Vega a lawyer to discuss church security and the legal ramifications we hope you’ll join us tonight for gbn live live from the gospel broadcasting network located just outside of Memphis Tennessee be a part of today’s episode by calling in or interacting with us through Facebook now from Olive Branch Mississippi it’s gbn live hello and welcome again to G being live on my kicks in so glad that you’re with us tonight on Thursday evening we appreciate so much the opportunity to come into your home and talk about biblical principles tonight we’re gonna be discussing a very important subject guns in church buildings and we have with us tonight Kevin Sutton and Matt Vega and guys glad to have you thanks excited to be here we are so glad to be together I guess by way of introduction tonight I think about the change in landscape across our country and this is not the America that I grew up in in the 60s and 70s things have changed so dramatically and there was a time when it seemed as if as a matter of fact when I think about my youth we never locked doors we didn’t worry about we didn’t worry about violence gun violence etc we certainly didn’t think about the the potential of violence in a church building etc a house of worship but that’s different today and so maybe by way of introduction and I know that you guys are looking at it in some ways from the same vantage point but in other ways a little bit different you have a legal background and of course you have a law enforcement background but talk if you would about the change of landscape in this country and maybe how that’s been contributory to where we are today well I think you’ve made a good observation that probably we have never been a more private society than we are today in terms of the facilities and what’s open to the public and and what is has armed security cameras and armed security guards and and all kinds of fencing if you think about almost any place you enter now is more closed off than it was 50 years ago and less accessible and more heavily monitored and watched the only exception to that are the churches they are still for the most part very open and and intentionally so we want to provide a open invitation to the community and that becomes the Achilles heel that becomes the vulnerability you know to your point this past week I was at the Met which is a incredible Hospital here in Memphis area matter of fact they probably have the top-rated trauma unit in West Tennessee and as I entered the as I entered the complex they had installed in just the entryway really reminding me of airport security you’ve got to go through and get checked whether or not you’re carrying a weapon or anything that might potentially harm someone and I thought about you know just a sign of the times and so it is a different world you know something matt said let me think this speaking about the Lord’s Church I have found and based on observation we basically got three we talked about Church security I’m finding three types you’ve got congregation one who doesn’t talk about church security they have no plans they really don’t even know who if anyone maybe brother so-and-so carries and most of the time and then you’ve got congregation number two who they pretty much know who carries but they still haven’t they’re not well organized they haven’t done any type of training at all and then you got congregation three who has took the steps they’ve talked with their their their insurance company they’ve got someone local from their community from their Sheriff’s Office or police department he’s got some expertise some years of experience on what they can do and what they shouldn’t do based upon their state law because every state is different and every you know what you can do in Georgia is may not be necessarily what you can do in Alabama or state of Mississippi the concealed carry is different so they really need to those those elders or those means you know they means group they need to find out and and and and go from one to two and I have found that’s where most everybody’s at you know this is the Christian security network recently reported statistic online and what they indicate is they found about 75% of churches have no security plan seventy-five to seventy five percent finding that’s you know think I’m very thankful that a lot of congregations are of the Lord’s people are stepping up they’re heading in the right direction but I’m finding in even among brethren they’re one in two they’re not three and we need to leadership Sneed to change that and stop being in such a soft target sure let me ask this question and and and then I want to go back to maybe the seventy five percent that you mentioned a moment ago but you talked a moment to moment ago about the fact that in many congregations we are not protected by and large and you know on the one hand we do want to be open and invite and we want people to come in and yet at the same time you have to be careful in this day and time so where’s the balance I guess and all of that well it can be it can be tough you know a lot of this is common sense to some folks and maybe it’s not common sense to others but you know if you have a stranger that comes in among you how’s he dressed overcoat with a backpack and a wig and a wig like white settlement you know congregations can can could can tag a couple of their armed team members to sit close to that guy without saying anything to anybody I mean that’s just one option let me ask you this question and this has come up as and I think this has come up where I tend one of the the guys that has taken the lead at our congregation with regard to security is in law enforcement he is a an agent with the FBI and and he’s talked about if someone comes in wearing clothing that that immediately draws attention that as you said a moment ago someone needs to be on him we talked about profiling and I know that their legalities and whatnot but but at the same time we do have to exercise caution and you know it’s better to be safe than to be sorry well between maybe Mac and chimed in on this but there’s a difference between law enforcement profiling and just a private citizen paying special attention to someone and yeah that is for constitutional purposes there is a different standard but my perspective is there’s a number of things that you can do across the board with everyone without you know singling out anyone and and many of those things are just good evangelism techniques if you think about the warmest most welcoming congregation you’ve ever been in what was that experience like did you get to come in there no one speak to you sit on the back row by yourself and no one approaches you know the most inviting congregations are ones that identify their visitors get information about their visitors offer to give them a rainbow sticker on their lapel so everybody can identify them as a visitor has a member of the congregation actually sit with them in the congregation it’s not because they’re singling them out because they’re worried about them it’s because they want to get to know them better the Scriptures talk about greeting one another with a holy kiss if we were to get back to a practice of just warmly greeting someone when you close that gap that distance to extend the hand of fellowship and and shake their hand maybe take their arm you’re going to coincidentally get to know them better and be able to assess whether there’s any risk and again the purpose should not be to determine whether they’re carrying a gun or their a pose a danger the purpose should just be to be in a warm and inviting congregation and you’ll get the ancillary benefit yes yes and at the same time you know if you’ve got a suspicious sale in your body you’re sizing you can size that up I mean I’m guilty that and and I and I make no apologies for it but I do as one the elders of the church there I do want to meet our visitors and and I greet them and shaking their hand and friend were you from you know you know and you do that but at the same time you’re warm as Matt saying and you welcome them and if something if you know it’s very difficult to get to a point to say okay we need to take this a little bit further sure could it could a congregation could it could one of the men or a couple of men asks the guy to step to the foyer it may get to that I mean if if enough red flags goes off but what if he’s intoxicated and I know this might get into one of our other questions in a little while what if it gets unruly those are those are good questions and they’re that’s where some training comes in because sometimes brethren just don’t know what what you know what when do I cross the line should I cross the line those are those are good questions that’s where training comes in and based on your again state law and every congregation you know I visualize where I’m from we think about where you guys think about where you’re from you take a large congregation in a large city they’re different from us it may not be and I’ve heard members of the church say this before oh it’s not unusual for us to have a couple of strange faces every every Lord’s Day we have lots of visitors every week yeah many many visitors lots of new faces let me ask this you mentioned the 70% with regard to lack of protection so specifically five seventy five percent so we talked about those steps one two three let’s just assume that as you said a moment ago you got seventy five percent of the people not protected so if you were going into a congregation and they have absolutely no protection what would you where would you begin and what steps would you – which you encourage them to take to protect themselves well I would know every States different you have to abide by your state law you need to get someone if your eldership I you wouldn’t believe the over the past many many weeks I get a call from preacher a from Arkansas preacher B from Alabama and so many the leaders are just they’re just they really don’t know what to do they’re overwhelmed they’re just overwhelmed but they don’t know whether it should we go should we do this should we not do this if we do this this if we don’t this I would suggest those elders those those in charge to meet someone from their community someone that’s in the know someone that has had training in this area and talked with him about it the ground is not going to open up and swallow them if they have a conversation about church security and I it’s it’s so many times I’ve seen congregations develop a team and without exception especially their older members who those some of those church leaders be that I’ve even heard them say this before oh we don’t want to scare them by having armed members here they’ve said that and without exception as those congregations that I’ve seen go from one two to three to where they should be they would those older members would come up and say thank you so much for doing this this should have been done two or three years ago so they’re finding out oftentimes this is reverse of what they thought it starts by assessing the risks and every congregation is going to have different vulnerabilities if one congregation may have one exit another congregation have seven or eight one may have just the sanctuary and classrooms right off the foyer and others may have separate buildings and so someone with some expertise but would work with the committee of individuals from that congregation to determine the different threats then you develop a security plan and develop close ties with local law enforcement to review that security plan and then you you part of that security plan would include equipping a security team but then the big question is whether or not not whether you going to have a security team I think that’s appropriate and and you really ought to have a security team of two or three people for the average Church and for every hundred members more you have than the average I’d add another person or two to the security team so the question the hardest question for me that I think churches face is not whether to determine their risks and to come up with some plans or even whether to have a security team and have appropriate electronic surveillance and that kind of thing the hardest question is whether to arm them and then what to do with the members who may be licensed to concealed carry that’s the tricky one you know we have we have a security team and they are all armed we have retired policemen we have active police and so we have you know we’ve been blessed in that respect but one of the things the the recent occurrence that happened in Texas because it was inside the auditorium in the assembly area that heightened alert on our part and so you know then it carried the conversation in okay now we need to be proactive inside the assembly not just in the hallways not just by the way at the doors entrance exit set cetera absolutely and and I wanted to say this earlier but you know the United States no doubt has the greatest military that’s ever been police officers or have never been as trained as they are now I’m not saying perfect I’m just saying more trained military people die police officers die often as well as they’re trained we have casualties a congregation cannot be completely bulletproof if our military and the police can’t neither can congregations but that does not mean that does not mean that they cannot develop a team based upon in lines with their state law get someone locally that’s done this before that that that that can document this document the training what was covered put that in printing in print communicate with your insurance company as I did for the the church and Adairsville actually spoke with her attorney on the phone from Illinois a real nice lady and she said well I suggested this this this and this I said yes ma’am and I said that’s what we’re already doing I said we’re just and we actually purchased some additional coverage so we satisfied what they won’t into what they like and they was very pleased now I’ve heard of it some insurance companies counseling I don’t know I don’t know who does and who does not but Irish was very she was very positive about the things that we had implemented in in Adairsville Georgia and and I suggested a couple of things she hadn’t even thought of and she said oh that’s that’s a matter that’s good so there’s things you can’t do sure one of the questions that’s come in tonight via Facebook how many members should be caring and I know that’s a subjective question because you know not every place is the same but but I think back to what what you guys said you should have armed people protecting your premises is that correct yes no question about it you know when we was as you started off the show might went back in our days we never thought about it well this this is no longer our days this is a new day and doesn’t mean would need to be paranoid doesn’t mean that we need to you know Pat everybody down that comes in the back of the building but you know I think it was the Lord that said we got to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves we have to be smart and we can do that without being offensive but as far as the nut the number goes you know what’s the magic number we have a dozen head Adairsville and the most that we’ll ever have right now in the congregation on a special day or something you know have folks doing special days will bump 150 but there’s about a dozen of us that are that are that’s gone through our training industry who’s armed I want to go back to your your comment about whether or not we should have armed security or armed members and I do think that you definitely need a security team whether or not you are them determined is dependent on their availability for training and their ability to properly handle a gun it’s not just the foreseeability of an active shooter that you need to worry about from a legal liability standpoint it’s also the foreseeability of an accidental shooting and so every state has a different approach to concealed carry but the first distinction I would make is between security teams and armed security teams the second distinction is between armed security teams and armed members and I believe if you’re blessed with qualified security / people that are for example post certified active law enforcement officers who are members of your church it would be a blessing to have them armed as security as part of your security team sure for example then to the second question of whether you armed them are you or whether the members are armed that depends on your state now he’s from Georgia and in Georgia in about seven other states six other states plus DC the law requires you to actively affirmatively give permission to members or to anyone license to carry to carry in the building that creates a little higher risk for the congregational the congregations leaders because you’re actually not deputizing them but you are affirmatively authorizing them to be carrying the gun in the building in Tennessee and most of the state’s 40 some-odd states the law is the opposite and that is they have the right to carry unless you specifically prohibit them from carrying and therefore you don’t have to take an affirmative step as a leader to say I hereby deputize or authorize you to have a gun in this assembly you’re just not posting a sign banning those guns and it’s a little lower legal risk but again I’m not suggesting that you the legal risk is the only consideration because the risk exists if you don’t have anybody armed as well as if you armed them I’m just saying that foreseeability or risk is something to look at both ways don’t you got you we’re gonna take a quick break and then we’ll be back and a lot more questions I know will emerge in our study but a lot of thought-provoking things that have been said thus far thank you we’ll be back in just a moment [Music] [Music] so how do you know whether your Bible has been corrupted you know the youngest part of the Bible is about 2,000 years old an old book and it came from Greek went into Latin and then to English so it’s kind of like the game telephone right so how many of you know why we can actually trust the Bible anybody think it’s been corrupted anybody want to maybe try to explain this one to us [Music] you [Music] you can watch the latest episodes of gbn live on youtube after tonight’s show you can search for gospel Broadcasting Network or simply go to youtube.com forward slash gbn TV press the red subscribe button at the top right of the page and you will be notified when new content is available stay tuned after the show for some more excellent gospel content thank you for staying with us we are back from break we are talking tonight about guns in church buildings and obviously the changes that have taken place across the landscape of America it used to be that you didn’t have to worry about some of the things that we’re discussing tonight but it is a different time different age other questions come in tonight when the first century Church faced security threats how did they handle it did they have security in place interesting question you know I would go all the way back to the Old Testament and to the rebuilding of the wall in Nehemiah and Nehemiah chapter 4 there’s this great verse about how they’re worried about external threats and there were their plan they came up with a plan a security plan and the plan was very simple they prayed to God and then each man was it was armed and set his guard to as a protection against the outside threat and I think that that’s that wisest serpent approach that Nehemiah fold Nehemiah chapter 4 good stuff verse 9 good stuff they they stood and watched or they stood and watched in our discussion tonight we’ve talked about training those who are a part of the security team what about let’s let’s go inside the assembly and let’s think about an assembly is in in the act of worshiping God and as a scene unfolds and you’ve got an active shooter what about training the members to respond quickly under fire so to speak the in my opinion the congregation has one job to do and it consists of a couple of added things to it but really it’s just overall this one job there to get out now that that doesn’t mean in the floor in the floor that doesn’t mean leaning over that doesn’t mean I’m going to peep that means and again this goes back to what I said you know earlier none of us we can’t completely bulletproof ourselves but in my opinion get down on the floor bad knees and arthritis and all you lay down you down grab your grab the nearest person next to you on the way down you get down you stay down and you be quiet there’s no leaning over there’s no screaming and hollering if you can you know you’re just gonna say you know sometimes when things happen like that pandemonium breaks out and people just go they lose you know they lose control they really do understand and and I understand that but at the same time what you said you know you have to have a plan in place you have to be proactive yeah the federal government has after these shootings were occurring in schools a number of years ago federal government did a lot of effort to bring education to the teachers and to the students and to parents and I think all of that material is easily available online and churches ought to be taking advantage of it and the three mantras that they advocated were to run hide or fight run hide or fight and depending on your situation you may be able to run away if you can’t then you get down under the pews and you hide and if you’re in a classroom you barricade the door but ultimately if you may have to fight and go after that gun because the studies from the FBI if they haven’t developed the perfect profile yet for who who would engage this kind of active shooter behavior but the one thing they agree on wholeheartedly is that they’re not going to stop until they’re stopped that’s right and so you may have to fight you you triggered a thought in my mind map I was thinking about when I was in the elementary school we used to have regular fire drills and and we we would all we had a plan of action and every every class was to follow that plan of action we were to orderly get out of the building and I think by the same token that that’s what you’re talking about here have a plan in place be pre-emptive well if you have and again we’re speaking in general here you know we every situation is different but the not most of the congregation is not going to be near the shooter I need something to separate them between and if it is running then that but those you know a lot of our pews are pretty solid they’ll take a couple of you know there’s some separation between you and the bad guy and if your team does what they’re supposed to do and what they’ve been trained to do if they’ve been had some training maybe they can do what they’re been trying to do but if the congregation gets in the way if they’re up and running and screaming everything can just unravel unravel and and now it’s really chaotic it’s really chaotic I would not second-guess anyone if they was on the back row if they could slip out then their life is saved but but I’m just I’m speaking in general terms here that what do you do in a situation where let’s say let’s say that you’ve got somebody who comes into the assembly and and you know no red flags have been raised and they stand up and they pull a gun do you negotiate do you talk to what you know you know what what course of action should be taken well not knowing every state law I can only speak for Georgia Georgia law and it’s probably written in every coach session maybe in every other state but it’s what’s reasonable the word reasonable comes up if it’s Fae if it’s reasonable to suspect that this fella man or woman is fixing to take the life of another then you can defend yourself they that they can defend themselves now if if the guys got the drop on you you know negotiation may be in order maybe there’s only two guys it’s this arm that’s been trained in one of them he was out sick today there’s only one guy there it’s hard to answer those top questions you know yeah the person that hypothetical didn’t tell me who that person was and whether they were armed and whether they were close enough to actually you know knock the gun away but there is a lawful a legal right to to use lethal force if you have a reasonable apprehension of lethal force being used against you but that you may not be armed so that’s not obvious yeah okay and if you’re close enough you you may your best your best option might be to fight to actually try to take that gun away but if you’re you know of an older woman not armed not physically able obviously she’s gonna take one of the other two options let me ask this from a legal perspective do you know of any any places that shootings have occurred and let’s say the perpetrator has been killed do you know of any any type of lawsuits that have been that have come forth as a result of that well I don’t know about churches specifically but law enforcement officers are routinely prosecuted by the the perp the perpetrator who was injured in in you know subduing them and so or in a shooting even and so you can just assume there is always a risk of some kind of legal action being taken against all sides you know one thing that we haven’t talked about tonight and I just like you maybe gonna asking this question in just a little while but I wanted to throw this in while I was headed on my mind you know we are more out to lose a member of our congregations many many times over due to heart attack stroke choking I can remember my lifetime we’ve had two members at our congregation ad broke got broken bones one of them was my mother fell broke her arm having people in place for that I mean oftentimes we would concentrate on shootings and rightfully so but do we have these other people in place my wife Tracy she’s diabetic do you have our shoes in the refrigerator do you have the I’m drawing a blank right now the defibrillators you have those about a thousand twelve hundred dollars I understand and you’re in business they’ll save lives we have one in our foyer and training so that there are several people that can use it yeah well and we are fortunate in that we have some medical personnel who are members of the congregation and you know just thinking back over the years of preaching and teaching I know that one occasion years ago gentleman had a stroke I was preaching had a stroke I remember another occasion a man his heart I think his heart stopped and had a nurse or had a lady behind him put him on the floor quickly and she said we gotta get medical help now and I mean it’s unnerving to a congregation but those things do happen we our youngest son Tate Tate preachers for the Cleveland Church of Christ and banks in Alabama but when he was just a small fella someone Randy I was teaching my my high schoolers and someone running said Kevin tights joking well I sprinted across the I was lost limber then I sprinted across the auditorium but my wife had already got there and she did the Heimlich it was a piece of candy he was choking and of course he was crying when I got there of course that was so I loved to hear that crying because he was he was breathing and so things like that are so much more you know just having someone in the you know there’s a lot of folks in the medical business nowadays and our our congregations are filled with these people nurses that’s got that training let them take care of stuff like that let them let them make sure that all that’s in place and you give them a job it’s it’s funny when the church leaders give folks a job a lot of times they they they do their jobs I tend to think a lot of people are looking for something to do and and they relish that opportunity to use their expertise they all have different skills and abilities and those can help equip the Saints right other questions come in what about what does the Bible say about self-defense I find this interesting then I wrote this down what is found in Luke Luke 22 I anticipated this question I find this really we know our Lord taught the greatest teacher Jesus taught with parables he taught in the various number of ways and you know he would give an illustration but but he Luke 22 let’s go down to verse about 36 yeah well you know I’ve quoted I have said the wrong one Oh which first am I thinking about twenty thirty twenty to thirty twenty to thirty six you don’t have a sword no it is good look let’s talk about that one for me here is Jesus saying this weapon of death this weapon that can be a weapon of Defense jesus said you they said well Lord we got to well that’s enough and and that’s of course that’s where I was where I went wound up going to but where’s the verse help me out here for Jesus gave the illustration when he said and he was talking about his return and he mentioned that if a man knew when his house was gonna be broken into on Matthew 26 Matthew 24 I mean yeah I was supposed I was not real close 19 24 verse 42 yeah beginning yeah I want you to think about this but know this the Lord said that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come he would have watched and not allowed his house and not allowed his house to be broken into really Jesus and of course he was I think the context there is about his return but he wouldn’t give an a sinful illustration those people understood that day and we understand that now well you’d bet the house defense self-defense and we could we could talk for another hour about the number of scriptures that are that’s found as we talked about in Luke 22 but the Lord said you know sell some of that get you a sword they was going in some dangerous places kind of the hood of their day and the Lord knew that and they they said well Lord we got a couple we got two that’s good that’s obviously you don’t want to escalate things if you don’t have to sure but the basic principle is that you have the right to exercise your rights to defend nectar yours your family your property and and I think property rights and protecting your family are both legitimate biblical principles and so for hopefully you can you can use the legal means that the legal your exercise you legal rights like Paul did in in acts 16 or but if necessary I think you you know there are certain rights that we enjoy as citizens in this country and we can avail ourselves of those rights just as Paul did as a Roman citizen and I do think there’s an important distinction between our individual duties our group duties when we become responsible for a group you can as an individual you you turn the other cheek and you can have an ethic that is self-sacrificing but as the leader of a group it’s incumbent on you to fulfill your duty and your responsibilities as the leader of that group to protect that that flock if you will that’s the part of the reason why I think elders are identified in Scripture as Shepherds yeah well you know in Romans 13 Paul talks about the simple government the fact that they exist to protect us from evil doers and and so they have the right to do things that we as individuals will don’t some to the military or a police officer that’s they have not only the right but the duty to do more than individuals do it’s often I’ve not heard this verse used was talking about the military was talking about the laws of the land Romans 13 I’ve not heard this verse used but a time or two but but a lot to bring attention to acts 25 verse 11 and this is a good verse for of showing that capital punishment is is authorized as well I believe in verse 11 says for I if I am an offender or have committed anything listen deserving of death claim in it Paul an apostle inspired you mean there was things there can be things and were things deserving of death I think that’s pretty good argument you know and we’re going off here you know capital punishment but he goes on to say I do not object to dying if I if I’m guilty of this but but that’s a great great verse I think all there is you going on no because I because I think that if you take that option off the table if you say as a Christian I can never take another human life then what you’ve done is you have put a a cap on the value of human life and if you if you recognize the value of human life then you have to allow for some punishment to rise to the level of capital punishment because sometimes that’s what’s deserved and you know Paul talks about bearing the sword in vain and if if capital punishment is not in enforced then that’s exactly what he’s talking about and so you know without without laws and boundaries we have anarchy and and it may be the case that in our country our judicial system and I mean there’s a whole nother subject but you know maybe we have been so lacks in some areas that that is all we’re talking about is the same principle in a different sphere that that there is the government sphere and they keep society in order by welding the sword but in the sphere of your home sometimes you have to defend the home using the same same good ones well there is a there is a world of difference and this is where people that I’ve met and talked with they think the lines blur listen vengeance is mine God said that is not theft offense there is a vast difference between the two you know we could go to Exodus what is it chapter 22 that talks about you know God laying down the law and it says if a man is found breaking in and it’s blood his blood is shed and that there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed was that Exodus 20 to 30 I think the Lord what the Lord prohibited was taking medicine their own hands and and and retaliating her personally retaliating well the verse goes on to say but if the son is risen own him other words if he’s escaped and his few hours later you don’t track him down and that’s and that’s vengeance but if he’s currently act and that’s where I believe that the Jews got themselves in trouble they took the the judicial you know we could look at this first we could talk about and maybe we’ll have time about turning the other cheek Matthew 5:39 that’s all about and conceited inventions if you and the implication was that when they tracked them down they’re going to take fatal act fatal fatal fatal response a lethal response and once the lethal threat has passed it’s no longer equitable for you to still use a lethal Bratt response yeah the Jews the Jews would would they took the judicial rule what the courts in Jesus didn’t have a problem with the magistrates they were called that that they took that to the street that would be vengeance not self-defense and there’s a they’re totally big difference big difference go take a quick break we’ll be back in a hour [Music] [Music] [Music] it says Jesus the gospel Broadcasting Network is proud to bring you gbn live to have your questions answered on the program please call us at 888 eight zero five three three nine zero that’s eight eight eight eight zero five 3390 please try to keep your questions relevant to tonight’s topic if you have a different topic that you would like to have discussed on gbn live please email your request to G bein live at GBN tv.org and we will do our best to accommodate your request thank you for staying with us we are in the final stages of our program we appreciate so much you being with us tonight we want to get back to one of our questions that I think needs to be looked at maybe more in-depth what oh that what other types of emergencies should a congregation be prepared for you know we’re focused right now on the possibility of an active shooter and it’s not that that’s out of the possibility we have to deal with that approximately four percent of shootings in the United States are taking place in houses of worship according to the popular Homeland Security but that said you mentioned earlier that there are other risks that we need to be prepared for like someone having a diabetic seizure or a heart attack but from a legal perspective one of the top five legal risks the number one or number two risk is the vulnerable children and something happening to them either sexual abuse which is a risk that you need to prepare for or some kind of accident occurring on the premises from us liability and I think that what a church needs to do is not only have a security team and a security plan but even a more broad plan which we generally refer to as a safe church policy that says here all the possible risks of things that could happen to the most vulnerable among us the elderly the children and then preparing making preparations to minimize mitigate those risks best they can good stuff good stuff one of the things that we did want to address one of the questions we had had to do with securing our entrances and exits I know that some congregations leave their doors open throughout the entirety of their meeting times I remember by just this going back quite some time ago but I came out the side of our auditorium our assembly area and someone had turned the light out in the hallway and our fellowship hall is behind our assembly area so when I came out of the side entrance I’m in the dark and a man comes out of nowhere from from the fellowship hall and and said hey I need some gas well my first question was where did come in how long had he been in the back and and I thought you know what if this guy had a gun and I walk out the side I mean they’re just so many things came through through my mind so what about securing our our our doors I can tell you what what we do and and I’m a fan of this at our place and every building is different and as you said Mike some congregations may have five or six but we have three places at our building that we can come in and go out but two of those and we’re well within our fire coats and they’re solid doors when they shut they’re locked now you can go out by push the bar and you walk right up and come back down but you cannot come back let’s get a key and a someone with evil on the nine they not gonna have key but we have one one access one can and we we have in our newsletter each week it says who has announcements just like everybody else’s song leader for your duty we have one of our armed team members they they do for your duty and it’s one way and I’m a fan one way in and one way out and as we dismiss he’s the first one that goes out that’s part of his job that we’ve asked them to do and and scan the parking lot and look for for evil but yes one way in one way out is it’s great and in some of the places that this asked me to come and not do a building survey and and tell us what you think about this cameras and this entrance and all listen some of the places they’re back doors and some of many of our buildings are old we all understand that but some of their back doors and side doors the average 5th grade girl could get in could get into and and I say this as kind as I know how but listen the church is a saving institution it is not a savings institution and I think sometimes that church the elders of congregations and I understand the autonomy okay but turn lose some of that money and get you some good doors home depot lowes sell some good ones and hire somebody that knows what they’re doing just because brother Jim forty years ago knew how to build birdhouses okay and he was pretty good at it sometimes we’ll get those guys to to take out the old door jams and the old doors don’t we do that in the church and don’t do that get you a contractor somebody that knows how to take that thing out properly put that thing in there and it would take a it would take two men with sledgehammers to come in well you can be there and taking appropriate action you know and checking out this they’re not coming in if you do it properly we need to spend a little money on some of this sometimes in glass glass is not a that’s not always a real nice thing either I’ve seen something recently at the Lafayette Church of Christ over Littlefair Georgia that got some glass doors around front and and but I seen pictures of what they put these nice you can call them bars but they don’t look like look like bars very attractive and so even if someone did break the glass I still can’t get in and I thought my understanding they purchased those at Home Depot but they’re installed professionally it looks it looks very nice a lot of things you do like that I think that’s as far as doors there are number of exits in many churches for a reason and so many churches won’t lock those or make them inaccessible until after services have begun but they still would install cameras still have security patrolling and then and so that’s sort of a more balanced way to approach it but it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risks as long as it’s an open open to the public kind of kind of bill used you use the word balance and I think about you know there are two extremes overreacting under-reacting so how do we strike a balance and everything we’re talking about snow ice reasonable earlier that’s the legal standard foreseeability you know how foreseeable is it that an act to shoot that that actually could be a risk at your congregation it’s it’s not enough to know that they are out there but there are a lot of red flags that if there is some domestic disputes if there was some kind of violent situation that Barclays if there was a shooting down the street then you have a higher risk and you need to take more aggressive steps a couple other questions very quickly someone asks give your thoughts if someone comes in with a knife what what should be done to stop that individual well as we said earlier if a life is about to be and I’m giving you just a general definition area if it’s reasonable to suspect that a life is fixing to be taken then you can you can defend with lief lethal or deadly force you can do that now I will caution and let me change this just a little bit just just to lay down this principle if you’re in the let’s just say you’re in the church building by yourself you’re the preacher and you’re up there at the podium and you’re practicing your and you just happen to be armed that day and you’re practicing your sermon a guy comes in the back building any 70 feet from you knees got a ball bat I said that’s not reasonable the threat is not present to take this take a shot take that’s right you know the preacher has the opportunity to leave he’s got some options he’s it’s not up close and personal now if the situation is someone with a knife it’s just like with police officers if our lives can be taken then we can you know we can take you know daily force action but it has to be reasonable and it’s very hard to say what that foot line is oh it always is 15 feet well now it’s 9 and a half feet that’s and again as we’ve said what’s reasonable so I hope that yeah brings out I think that helps you know because you know none of us have a crystal ball and those things don’t work anyway but what I even thought I had about the doors and that is if you have more than one facility and that facility is used just for Sunday school and Sunday school is over that facility needs to be locked down not only to keep people out but to ensure that people not not only to keep out an active shooter but also to ensure the children are not still you know loitering in there and and and raising other types of risk and so every classroom ought to be locked when they’re finished using it every X external building ought to be that’s not in use and that way you do manage your space by not having your just patrol the entire facility but only the facilities being used and there’s even even you know we think about something bad and evil going on during worship well it mats talking about during Bible class Bible classes when they’re going on there’s devices that you can buy what if something happens during that time and there’s one or two bad guys in the building do you have something in place that your teachers know to take that device and I mean there’s some really nice inexpensive they’re not too expensive that’s that saving savings institution thing I’m saying again by some of those things and it would to be able to lock it from the inside lock it from the inside so barricade the wall the door from the there’s very nice wedges that goes under the I mean folks can do their homework purchase one forty fifty dollars and wage that they’re not gonna come in good stuff I know our times gone we’ve got about two minutes left but what about security cameras we mentioned that a moment ago could those be employed and and and used effectively in in in trying to prevent sure situations that might arise you know banks have cameras but they get robbed convenience stores have cameras they get robbed but how many how many you take a church building as we say and it’s got a little nice sign up front it says and I’ve seen those and I like them this building and grounds is is under constant video recording you’re under video surveillance who knows that might make one guy leave if he’s walking up there with a willingness in his heart he could but my one piece of advice is don’t Bluff don’t put out a sign saying this parking lot is is under surveillance we’re not have surveillance because that could give some people some artificially sense of security that isn’t theater and you have some liability and it might make the next guy put on a mask when he comes back but again we don’t know but we I love we love cameras listen everything that that you guys have said tonight has been spot-on I appreciate very very much Kevin Matt thank you so much for your time your expertise willingness to be here thank you for being a part of our program tonight.

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