State lawmakers will soon decide whether Texans should be allowed to carry guns in churches and other places of worship.
On Wednesday nights, members of Compassion Church gather for praise and worship and some are armed. But the church has a selected group of church members, who are unknown to the entire congregation, that are part of a safety team.
“If you want to serve you fill out an application and then they will do a background check. Get approved and go through some training and then if you do carry, have a license to carry, they’ll make a copy of that license,” a safety team member said.
As Executive Pastor of Compassion Church, David Akridge and safety team members also took an active shooter training course. Something the pastor said he believe was critical, especially after recent church shootings.
“We went in asking questions. What to do and what not to do those kinds of things in order to get better educated. Actually, all of our safety leadership team went with us to gain more knowledge on what to do,” Akridge said.
Now down in Austin, a bill is making its way through the legislative process that, if passed, would give all Texans the right to bear firearms in church by not infringing upon the rights of a church to prohibit guns on their property if they choose. It’s a bill Akridge agrees with.
“We’ve never had an issue. Ever had an issue here at all. Our safety team has had a few weeks ago a lady who was having seizures and so they jumped in to be actively helping out with that. We haven’t had any issues of that nature,” Akridge said.
Akridge and other Texans who believe in second amendment rights will be keeping an eye on what state lawmakers decide during the 86th Texas Legislature.
The bill filed early this week in the Senate does not restrict the rights of churches to prohibit weapons on their premises if they choose, which has been established law for most privately owned property in Texas.
In addition, the bill reduces penalties for licensed citizens who unknowingly carry in prohibited areas. It also increases the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony for armed individuals who are told to leave certain premises where weapons are prohibited and they don’t.