Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pastor Shot and Killed In Pulpit - Pastor Carl Gallups Weighs In

Lake Charles pastor shot to death during church service
Today, we read in the news of a pastor, in a church in Louisiana, being shot dead while he was in the pulpit preaching. (See the article here: http://www.kplctv.com/story/23554172/cpso-pastor-shot-killed-during-church-ceremony)

Pastor Ronald J. Harris Sr is reported to have been preaching a special Friday night service in St. Charles, Louisiana when the gunman, Woodrow Karey Jr. (53), allegedly walked into the church and shot Harris twice with a shotgun. The report says that Karey has no known criminal history and the motive for the killing is unknown.
Ronald Harris Sr. (Source: www.tabernacleofpraiseworship.com)
It seems that attacks upon churches, members, and pastors is on the rise. We read of them more and more often. The trend is alarming. The trend has many church goers and even pastors - packing heat. The issue is a bit complex though, as our own pastor Carl Gallups (founder of PPSIMMONS News and Ministry) relates. We interviewed pastor Carl back in July of this year - when another such incident arose and gave a platform for a nationwide discourse on the topic of concealed carry and church security. You may wish to read that interview again. We have reproduced it below for your convenience.
 

JULY 2013
IS YOUR PASTOR A PISTOL PACKING PREACHER?

That may be one of the newest and trendiest questions asked in and around the Christian community these days. In light of criminal and terrorist attacks on Christian churches around the world - many U.S. pastors and congregations are giving serious thought to this matter. Some are taking serious measures.

At PPSIMMONS News, we recently interviewed our own Pastor Carl Gallups (Founder of PPSIMMONS News and Ministry). Carl is the senior pastor of a  Gulf Coast Baptist church, (Hickory Hammock Baptist Church) a #1 best selling author (The Magic Man In The Sky), a former FL lawman, and an 11 year veteran conservative talk radio host (Freedom Friday With Carl Gallups). Below is our interview with Pastor Carl. He gives some interesting "food for thought" on this distressing matter.


Pastor Carl Gallups
Interview with Florida Pastor Carl Gallups of PPSIMMONS News and Ministry

PPSIMMONS: There was a recent internet news article about churches in Florida that are taking tougher measures in providing security for its congregation. You are the pastor of a large church in Florida. What measures does your church take?

CARL G:  Yes, we do have an extensive security network. We actually have a designated security team. Of course, I cannot reveal everything we do at our church in an internet article, but I can tell you that we have a large team of plain-clothes security volunteers who are on constant patrol and constant vigil for anything odd. We have security cameras inside and outside our facilities. We patrol the parking lots, empty building spaces, and other high-risk areas during all church activity times. We use personal communication technology and vehicles while doing some of our patrols. In addition to security, we have trained medical personnel who are also available to immediately assist in medical emergencies. We have installed AEDs (heart resuscitation machines -Automated External Defibrillator) in strategic locations and have people trained to use them.

PPSIMMONS: Do you use armed personnel on your church campus?

CARL G: Yes we do, but again, I cannot give the exact details of how we do this. However,  I can tell you that we have several law enforcement officers who are members of our congregation. They are armed whether in uniform or not. We have some who will come to church in their uniforms and marked patrol cars with permission of their departments. Additionally, Florida is a concealed carry state. Many of our adult congregants are carrying legally concealed weapons and have had the mandatory state training to do so. Let me just say - we have plenty of legally armed people who are continually keeping watch over the congregation. We take other security measures that I will leave unsaid in this article. Suffice it to say - we take the security of our families and children very seriously. We will protect the sanctity of our right to peaceful assembly for worship and we will protect the safety of our people - no question about it.


PPSIMMONS: Do you personally carry a concealed firearm?

CARL G: I often do, yes. Remember, I spent a little over ten years in the field of Florida law enforcement. I started when I was 18 years old. I was a deputy sheriff under three different sheriffs in two different sheriff's offices. I actually taught firearms training in the Florida Police Training Academy for a term. I have been carrying firearms since I was a young man. In some cases, I was actually required to do so, even when off duty. Carrying a firearm is a very natural thing for me. I have no qualms about it whatsoever. It's like putting on a wristwatch or sliding a wallet into my pocket.

PPSIMMONS: Do you carry a firearm when you are at church?

CARL G:  Let me just say this - I am seldom without a firearm. Again, for me - it is a natural thing to do. I honor the second amendment for everyone. I encourage citizens of Florida and my church members to comply with the law and then secure a conceal carry permit. I do not necessarily encourage them to bring their weapon to church - but I do not prohibit it either. It is their right to do so. As long as they obey the law in their carry technique, I support their right to do so.


PPSIMMONS: Do you think having so many armed people in your church makes it a safer place?

CARL G:  Theoretically - yes, it does. However, simply having a gun does not guarantee one's safety or that their life will be spared in the case of an unexpected attack. What it does do, however, is that it gives the victim a chance - a good chance to come out of an attack alive. The criminal will always be armed. They don't care about any law that is passed. No gun control law affects a criminal.

A criminal loves to be in a place where their chance for survival is greater. Most criminals are cowards at heart. A criminal or terrorist coming to our church with plans to do harm would be in for a big and unpleasant surprise. Innocent congregants feel very safe at our church. I might add. Other than seeing some people patrolling around the church, or perhaps observing a uniformed and armed Florida law enforcement officer on the campus, no one would ever know just how secure our church is. We do not flaunt it. When people to come to church with us - they have a wonderful worship and discipleship experience. That is what we are here for... the exaltation of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. The security we implement is just something that is our right, and more importantly  - our responsibility to do - so we do it.

PPSIMMONS: What do you say to people who say "you should just trust the Lord - it is ungodly to carry a gun?"

CARL G: First, I respect their conscience and their right to hold that view. I would ask them, however: Do you wear a seat-belt? Do you wash your hands before you eat? Do you want your doctor to wash his hands before performing surgery upon you or your loved ones? Do you take vitamins? Do you exercise? Most likely the answer to all of these is YES for most people. I could ask: Do you not trust the Lord for your car safety, your health, protection from germs, and surgery safety without taking common sense precautions?

You see, of course my ultimate trust is in the Lord. I travel all over the country and all over the world in my ministry endeavors. There are many occasions that I cannot carry a weapon on my person. However, on those occasions when I can lawfully do so, I "put on my seat-belt, take a vitamin, exercise, wash my hands," so to speak. In other words, I take responsibility for my safety and of those around me - I use the brains that God gave me. Even Jesus instructed his disciples to "purchase a sword." He meant that literally. They were living in dangerous times. We are too.

PPSIMMONS: What do you say to those who accuse you of merely having a "Cowboy mentality?"

CARL G: (Laughing) Well, I have never been accused of that - but I am aware that the accusation is used from time to time by those who oppose personal carry laws. Look, I don't flaunt my concealed carry. It is called "concealed" for a reason. As a private citizen, I have never had to use a weapon and I don't purposely put  myself in situations where it might be necessary. I obey the laws concerning concealed carry. My law enforcement days are long over with - I don't think that I am a cop, nor do I try and play a cop. I merely carry, when I can, because it is my right to do so and because I feel a sense of personal responsibility for my own safety. The police are not our personal security guards. They are not required to protect "Carl Gallups" or any other individual. The Supreme Court settled that matter a long time ago. Carl Gallups is responsible for the security of Carl Gallups.

It is my deepest and sincerest prayer that I never have to use a weapon to defend myself or an innocent person around me. That is a potentially life-altering decision. The effects can be devastating for all concerned. The sad fact remains, though, we live in a dangerous world. The criminals certainly will have a weapon and they mean to do harm - no law is going to stop them from arming themselves. So, I encourage anyone who is lawfully able to do so and who desires to do so - to get the proper training and freely exercise your second amendment right. Our Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they spelled out that basic God-given right of all humanity.

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