As public spaces and places of worship have become a target for mass shooters, some churches are preparing by arming and training their congregation, The Associated Press reported.
The Fellowship of the Parks church in Fort Worth, Texas, and its sister campuses, for example, have partnered with the local company Sheepdog Defense Group to train volunteers at the church to respond to shootings, members told the AP.
In 1999, another church in the same city was subject to a mass shooting that left eight dead, including the shooter. And in 2017, a gunman opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people.
Doug Walker, the founder of the interdenominational Fellowship of the Parks church, told the AP it wasn’t one specific mass shooting that inspired the partnership with Sheepdog Defense Group, but that the trend made him recognize his security team needed better training.
Through the program, congregants reportedly learn a variety of skills to become volunteer security guards, including handling guns, threat assessment, first aid, tactical skills and other first response techniques in a mass shooting situation.
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