HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — In any town, a shooting in a place of worship would stop time, but nobody wants to think that it could happen where they live.
Last week in White Settlement, Texas, a Sunday morning church service ended in gunfire. A man with a shotgun killed two people before Jack Wilson fired a single shot, stopping the threat by killing the shooter.
“I took out some evil, that’s the way I’m processing it: I took out someone evil with evil intent,” Wilson said.
The shooting has led to renewed attention on church safety. In Harford County, people are thinking about their own churches.
“Two people — innocent people — lost their lives, and the shooter, the threat was neutralized in six seconds,” Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler said. “Police can’t respond in six seconds, the call can’t be made to 911 in six seconds.”
Gahler is once again bringing up the Parishioner Protection Act, which would allow church administrators to allow people to carry on their properties.
Should the bill pass in Maryland, it won’t be a mandate, but an extra blanket of protection should a church in the state want it.
“The criminals, they’re not stupid, they’re targeting places where they’ll meet the least amount of resistance,” Gahler said.
Within 90 days, the bill will have to make it through the Judiciary Committee and Senate before it reaches the governor’s desk, if it even makes it that far.
It has failed to garner enough support in the state’s general assembly twice before.
Gahler said the law in Maryland allows business owners to arm supervisors while they’re working on your business property. He’s hoping to extend that type of legal protection to churches.
“Write to your delegates, senators, write to the governor’s office and say this is smart legislation,” Gahler said. “It’s a shame we live in a day and age where these things are necessary but we do.”
Some criticize the legislation, saying all it would do is put more guns in churches.