The recent shooting at West Freeway Church near Fort Worth, Texas has had the entire country up in arms.
Congregant Jack Wilson became a folk hero when he shot and killed the gunman during this incident. Tragically, the assailant killed two people, but Wilson’s heroics potentially saved dozens of other people in the exchange.
A little-known fact that was drowned out in the noise was concerning a law that was passed two years ago which allowed churches to have armed volunteer guards.
Former State Representative Matt Rinaldi, who built a reputation as a pro-gun champion during his time in the Texas State Legislature, submitted this bill after finding out that the law at the time allowed congregants possessing concealed carry licenses to bring firearms into places of worship. But there with a catch — they weren’t allowed to carry out security functions.
“My wife and I were doing church security at the St. Anne’s carnival over by us, where unarmed security were looking for lost children and making sure everything was being run smoothly,” Rinaldi said. “And afterwards, I was looking at the occupational licensing laws looking to see which ones didn’t make sense, and I found out what we were doing and what the church was doing was illegal under current Texas law.”
Rinaldi stated that churches would either have to hire private security firms or acquire a $400 “letter of authority” from the state to establish volunteer security teams.
“We’ve seen churches being targeted time and time again, and it doesn’t make sense that they can’t protect themselves without hiring private security, which a lot of small churches don’t have the funds to do,” he stated.
After his bill passed, Rinaldi informed every church in his district that they could opt for volunteer security.
“They were talking on Fox News as if [the bill] didn’t [pass], so I think it’s important we get the word out that the law did change,” he stated.
Churches in Texas can determine who is able to carry in their premises, but a law like the one Rinaldi passed absolutely helps.
The recent case at West Freeway Church demonstrates how in an active shooter situation a good guy with a gun can be a legitimate game changer.
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