Churchgoers across the state will attend services on Sunday for the time since the tragedy that occurred in Texas last week that left 26 people dead and many more injured.
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.
The day before the shooting in Texas, Rep. Tom Miles attended a training course with several churches and learned about gun safety, training for real-life situations, and safety strategies. Miles said that it was “surreal” to hear about these things in the classroom and to then wake up and hear about the Texas shooting. Miles, a co-sponsor of the bill from 2016, went on to say that no one should be deterred from attending church.
Miles said that he has met with many pastors who have already helped in setting up security teams at their churches across the state. Miles says that he hopes anyone thinking about hurting innocent people will think twice based on the knowledge that members of the congregation have been trained to protect themselves.
Miles suggests that churchgoers work together to receive the training, and working with local law enforcement to get the proper certification. He went to say that while the sadness continues, hopefully the training and planning can prevent future tragedies before they occur.
“It’s just heartbreaking to live in a world where you even have to think about this and its heartbreaking to see the tragedy of our friends in Texas,” Miles said. “If it can happen in that small town in Texas, it can happen in any little town in Mississippi, but it’s our hope that the training put in place in churches around the state can help prevent this from happening here or anywhere else.”
Senator Josh Harkins echoed Miles’ sentiments and stated that he supports the law and agrees that churches should prepare to protect themselves.