LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Kentuckians choosing to conceal and carry a gun for personal protection appears to be on the rise again, and that’s translating to where people gather for Sunday service, especially following the deadly mass shooting in Texas.
The iTeam actually had been exploring concealed carry at churches weeks before the attack.
At New Horizon Baptist Church in Hardin County, the pastor revealed that he often carries a pistol at the pulpit, and at this point, he estimates at least half of his congregation has a permit to be packing in the pews. As often as once a month, a concealed carry class is actually taught at the church.
“There have been four congregations here that I have helped, put stuff together for them,” Concealed Carry Instructor Josh Lindblom said. Lindblom says his classes are always full.
According to state statistics, concealed carry permits issued in Kentucky jumped over 60-percent from 2015 to 2016, with the total more than doubling since 2010.
At Little Flock Missionary Baptist Church in Louisville, “I am not carrying a weapon when I come to the sanctuary,” Senior Pastor Bernard Crayton said.
However, he admits, security is in place amongst the congregation which may be seen or unseen.
“We’re not going to let anybody just come into our churches and just start shooting,” Rev. Crayton warned. “Everybody is welcome to come to church, but if you’re coming to do evil, I think you’re in for a rude awakening.”
“That would make me feel uncomfortable,” Connie Coartney said.
Coartney is with the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America.
Although she believes churches have a right to allow or prohibit concealed carry in their sanctuaries, she argues guns do not make churches or society any safer.
“A church is supposed to be a place where you go to seek peace,” Coartney said. “I just think introducing a weapon in that type of environment is just not something that I want to be involved with.”
Rev. Crayton says heightened security is a sign of the times, and his congregation’s safety is priority number one.
“Continue to lift Jesus, but you gotta protect yourself whatever you do.”