Concealed Carry Training Offered by…Churches?

by Leah Barkoukis, Townhall.com  |  published on November 23, 2012


Churches are always looking for new ways to reach out to people—especially men. Some houses of worship across the U.S. have ostensibly found the answer: Offer concealed-carry weapons training. The Daily has the details:

In an effort to increase membership, a number of U.S. churches — including the Church of Christ congregation in this rural village 30 miles north of Columbus — are offering an unconventional public service: Concealed weapons training.

“Church has done a good job with coffee klatsches or whatever, but we haven’t really reached out to guys,” said Jeff Copley, a preacher at the church. “And guys in Morrow Country, they shoot and they hunt.”

Hundreds of students have enrolled in the 10-hour course, which meets the state requirements for earning a concealed weapons permit. The training includes two hours on a church member’s private shooting range.

“I grew up going to church, but hadn’t attended in a number of years,” said David Freeman, 52, a local engineering manager who attended a firearm safety class at the church. “Always considered myself a Christian. I came for the gun classes and have been coming back for two years.”

The Marengo church launched its program several years ago and was likely among the first in the country to offer concealed weapons training. But from Texas to North Carolina, a smattering of congregations have recently followed suit, as ministers seek to capitalize on local enthusiasm for gun culture and demand for carry permit classes to expand their flocks.

While the effort is, in part, addressing the ‘decline in religious enthusiasm,’ it’s also about safety. Not surprisingly, those expressing this concern are near the U.S.-Mexico border.

In Texas, where it’s legal to carry guns into any church without a specific no-firearms policy, Heights Baptist in remote San Angelo began offering concealed carry classes in June. The class was a response to security concerns among congregants.

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