Are you feeling a little less safe in church these days? Since Dylann Roof gunned down South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney and eight other worshippers last month in a Charleston church, some are concerned that their own church might be vulnerable to attack by a disgruntled or mentally disturbed shooter. If a deranged killer entered your church and opened fire, would you know how to react?
In the wake of the Charleston shooting, three federal agencies have come together to help churches and faith-based organizations to protect themselves against violent intruders.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office will be the host Monday, July 27, at an interfaith security summit on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit. Co-sponsoring the event are the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.
The goal of the four-hour Security Summit is to teach religious leaders how to develop action plans, deter threats, and protect their members in the event of an active shooter situation. Also available will be information on hate crimes and prosecutions.
Leaders of all faiths are encouraged to attend the Security Summit, which will begin at 12:00 noon at Partrich Auditorium, on Wayne State’s main campus in Midtown Detroit.
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Just how prevalent is gun violence in churches?
Carl Chinn is a security expert who was on staff at Focus on the Family when an angry gunman took hostages at the Colorado Springs-based organization. According to Chinn’s report, there have been 971 deadly force incidents at faith-based organizations since 1999. The incidents resulted from a variety of causes including domestic spillover, personal conflicts, gang-related and drug violence, confirmed mental illness, religious bias, and other random triggers. In 335 of those incidents, the deadly force resulted in death.