National News

Metro Atlanta pastors discuss security at churches

Posted November 7, 2017 11:09 a.m. EST

— Hours after the mass shooting at a Texas church, the Texas Attorney General went on a cable news show calling for some churchgoers to be armed.

"All weapons are banned in these facilities, all bags are subject to search," is the greeting Rev. Raphael Warnock wishes he hadn't had to post on the front door of Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta for the past three years.

"Because of Georgia's opt-out law, its guns everywhere law, we had to post this sign," says Rev. Warnock.

You can see similar signs at Rev. Kim Jackson's All Saints' Episcopal Church in midtown Atlanta.

When asked if she could see how some people might say that people with guns are needed in case something breaks out until police arrive, Rev. Jackson said, "Sure. So on our campus, we do have security who are here during church hours, before and after, who do carry guns, actually. Our policy is, you have to be in uniform to have a gun on you."

But a Baptist Evangelist pastor in Walton County packs heat from the pulpit, where he's allowed. By phone, Pastor Tom Rush told CBS46 he loves Georgia's law.

When asked what he might say to people who say having guns in churches actually makes people less safe, because if someone comes in opening fire, you might not know who the good person is and the bad person, and police might not know, Pastor Rush said, "Well, I suppose that's a possibility...but I don't think you can provide too many examples of a situation like that occurring."

"What if a church member had been armed and had been able to stop that active shooter before they did so much damage," says Pastor Rush.

"I have to say I found it ironic that as I went down to the Capitol to lobby against this terrible law, the only way I could get into the Capitol was to go through a metal detector," says Rev. Warnock. "So, I would say to our state legislators that if they truly believe the answer to massive gun violence is guns everywhere, they ought to try it out a the Capitol."

For 10 years from 1994-2004, our country had the assault weapons ban. Rev. Warnock says Congress needs to have the courage to bring it back.