SuperTalk Mississippi

Church safety training continues after November shooting

TeleSouth Communications Inc

Following the November church shooting in Texas that ended with more than two dozen people killed, Mississippi pastors and churchgoers are learning how to make their churches more secure.

Mississippi passed the “Church Protection Act” in 2016 allowing concealed carry inside during services and giving them the ability to assemble security teams to help protect against threats such as an active shooter.

Last week, officials from the Mississippi Department of Homeland Security and the state Gaming Commission held a training session for several pastors. These type of training sessions occur regularly and Rep. Andy Gipson, co-author of the bill, says that they help to sure up the security plans at individual churches.

“A lot of the ongoing training is a review of the individual facilities and an assessment of the risk and then a report on that risk to the security team as well as active shooter training to the team,” Gipson said. “As it relates to members of the congregation there’s some training on what they should do in the event of an active shooter, and some defensive plans to keep them safe; particularly children and the elderly.”

Gipson said that they hope the training never has to be put into use, but it’s better to be prepared just in case.

“We hate to think anything like this could happen, but the reality is that these events are happening, and they are happening with more frequency,” he said. “For that reason, I think a lot of churches are taking this seriously, including the ones from this most recent training. I applaud them for being proactive; I’d rather be prepared and never have to use it as opposed to being unprepared and risk the safety of those in the congregation.”

Gipson went on to say that they have received feedback and ideas for potential tweaks to the law that could come up during the 2018 legislative session.


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