My Gun Goes to Church

My Gun Goes to Church

I live in Las Vegas and am a member of a very large protestant congregation. I enjoy going to church and listening to our learned and dynamic pastor deliver the messages of our Christian faith.

Yet, I also carry my handgun with me when I go to church on Sundays. It’s not that I don’t trust my fellow church members. Actually, the truth is I trust them completely. They are a wonderful group of people. The problem is Las Vegas has been rumored to be, as well as discussed, as a target for terrorists. The Christian faith in and unto itself is also a target for certain religious zealots. Our faith makes us infidels and targets in the eyes of these terrorists. As I have said, our church is here in Las Vegas, which is a possible target city. The church has a large congregation. A few hundred people listening to the gospel or participating in communion, makes any church not only mine, a target rich environment.

I have almost 25 years in law enforcement. As a result, I have been trained to be prepared for emergencies and to watch for them before they occur. I once read the wise words of a firearms instructor given to a new police officer who inquired about carrying a firearm when off duty. The instructor informed him, “You can either carry your firearm always, or don’t carry your firearm at all, but don’t carry it sometimes.” Add a bit of Murphy’s Law to this logic, and it will prove the time you don’t carry the handgun will be the time you need it.

Now some people may say a church is no place to bring a firearm. My feeling is God has blessed me with skills to know how to use a firearm. I don’t display my gun. I don’t brag about carrying it. Only my wife knows I’m carrying. I just keep it concealed and listen to the sermon.

I hope and pray our church and the members of the congregation are never targets of terrorists, but if they are, I want to be prepared to deal with the threat to my fellow church members, my wife and myself. So, when I go to church on Sundays, my wife and I are accompanied by Smith and Wesson.

Keith Bettinger is a retired Suffolk County, NY police officer, and has a Masters Degree in Human Relations with a major in Clinical Counseling. His thesis was A Practicum Experience in Post Shooting Trauma Counseling. He developed a peer support program for officers involved in shooting incidents.

Keith is a writer of short stories and articles – both fiction and nonfiction. He is also the author of three books and has contributed stories to five different anthologies. He has received 19 awards for his writing.        

During his time with the department, he served in many different capacities in both uniform and plainclothes assignments. He received numerous awards during his police career. He started writing for law enforcement publications during his police career. After his retirement, for a period of time, he taught criminal justice classes at his alma mater, New York Institute of Technology.

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6 Comments

Carry the firearm wherever you wish…the only concern is not the carrying, it’s the use of the firearm…and used as a defensive tool is fine, as you well know…as long as you have the mental preparedness to use the weapon if needed…and you and I know that just because a person is or has been in law enforcement does not mean that he or she is mentally prepared to use the weapon (which is true of all self-defense trained personnel)….so enjoy the carry, it’s like buying insurance when flying…good prevention against having to use same…

Retired after 35 years all on the street. Our weapon is a part of us, be prepared not paranoid.

THANK YOU for carrying. As a CCP holder, I also carry in church; but I don’t have the training that LEOs do, & I do appreciate your willingness to be “on duty” even when “off duty”.

I am also a retired law enforcement officer. Thirty years as a federal agent. I also carry in my Church as well as several other members of the congregation, most retired law enforcement. We are sheepdogs ready to protect the flock. Most members of the church do not know we are armed or what we are on alert for. We consider our service a ministry and duty to always be watching for any threat to the congregation. Many churches throughout this great land of ours now have safety teams who are secretly armed. It’s a shame that there is such a great need for us in our churches but the reality is there is. You are not alone keep alert and may God bless you and keep you, your family and church safe.

I grew up in the South. Purchased my first shotgun when I was 14 years young. Mom had a local grocery store and yes I know when and how to use a weapon. Spent my last year in the military at Viet Nam. With or without a weapons permit I will carry my pistol when and where I feel the need to. Thanks be to God that at 75 years young I have never had the situation arise where I had to.

Kudos and accolades for “being prepared.” I am armed at all times, even as I sit typing this. I do it every day, all day. I have no desire, in the event of a need to “repel borders,” to have to ’round up’ a weapon! I will not be disarmed, or I and my family will not be there! As shown by that club in Orlando, disarming everyone entering, simply allows any whack to shoot those doing the disarming and then EVERYONE else! As an aside, the “clubbing” part of my life ended long before my military career, as part of my “young and dumb” days.

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