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By Michael F. Haverluck
As Democrats press for unprecedented curbs on the right to bear arms, a Colorado Springs, Colo., pastor is recalling a high-profile incident in which a member of his church who was carrying a gun saved dozens of lives.
Boyd said the armed church member prevented a massacre.
“It did deter it,” he said. “One of our voluntary security church members had a firearm and saved at least 50 people. My family had just left the building and I was still in the building when it occurred.”
Boyd was speaking about Jeanne Assam, a former sworn Minneapolis police officer who was acting as security that day. She wounded the 24-year-old gunman, Matthew J. Murray, before he took his life.
Murray already had killed two people in the parking lot after attacking a Youth With a Mission office in the Denver area. He was fully loaded with ammunition as he headed for the sanctuary, where hundreds of people remained.
Does Boyd believe stricter gun control would have prevented his church shooting and the likes of Sandy Hook?
“With 300 million guns available in American culture, we’re way past the tipping point,” the pastor said. “Unless you’re going to go door to door and confiscate our guns, it’s not going to work. Another set of laws wouldn’t have prevented it.”
Boyd sees Obama’s crusade to eliminate guns as shooting blanks.
“I think gun rights is not the most important part of the conversation,” Boyd said. “The political outcry over gun control is missing the point; it’s not dealing with the root of the problem that produced the fruit.”
He believes the underlying problem is in minds and hearts but that the administration is looking for a quick fix.
“Antidepressants are the No. 1 prescribed drug in our country,” Boyd noted. “We are living in a culture of violence and medicating mental pain and anguish.”
Boyd pointed out the Bible doesn’t talk about gun control, “but it does speak on violence and the sanctity of life.”
“I’ve addressed the culture of violence in Christian homes with my church … asking them to weigh out if this is something to be invited into our homes through video games, movies and TV,” he said. “Violence has medicated us against real pain. It’s easier to deal with a gun problem than mental health, and that’s what the administration’s doing.”
Read and hear the real-life story of a man who, when faced with a team of terrorists attacking and killing people in his church, drew his own weapon and fired back, in “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense.”
Demonstrating the ineffectiveness of gun control, Boyd pointed south of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Mexico, where it’s illegal to be caught with a bullet, has the strictest gun control in the world, but it’s the most violent nation on earth,” he said. “It has more violent deaths than Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Gun control didn’t solve problems down there.”
Should pastors carry guns while preaching at the pulpit?
“I’m licensed to carry a gun, but I don’t on Sunday morning,” Boyd said. “It could be dangerous for a pastor to be shooting back in a big crowd of people. My church is safe because we have the right people carrying guns.”
Rev. Larry Dickey of First Baptist Church in Sunizona, Ariz., who has been through firearm training and has had a concealed-carry permit for three states, believes he’s the right person to be packing heat in his church.
“I do so because there is a need for people to understand that we need to defend families and ourselves,” declared Dickey. “We are not a nation that understands how important it is to be vigilant in safely handling a firearm in a defensive manner – with courts and other segments of our society thinking if we are unarmed, we will be a safer people.”
Dickey has extensive experience with firearms.
“I was in one of the first Law Enforcement Explorer posts in Southern California in the 1960s,” he said. “I have a degree in police science, now called criminal justice, and have been an endorsed chaplain with my denomination for more than 25 years.”
He insists citizens must learn from the past and not be so dependent on the state’s protection, which is insufficient, at best.
“In the past five years there have been several shootings in churches, one in Illinois where the pastor was killed while in the pulpit,” Dickey noted. “I have seen how under-protected we have become, by solely expecting law enforcement to keep us safe. They cannot. They will be the first to admit this. They need a population that is willing to step up into harm’s way and do what needs to be done, at a time that it needs to be done.”
Dickey said he’s well aware of the pressures law-enforcement officers face.
“Any time that I can help them, I will,” he said. “That is the responsibility of all citizens. We need to take a stand where we can and when we can. Too long we have allowed the criminals to take over. When we stand up, they cower like the cowards that they are. We are free people. As a free people we have a right and responsibility to protect our families, churches and communities whenever necessary.”
In Dickey’s church, he’s of the attitude, “Not under my roof!”
“If someone were to come into our church with a gun or a knife, they could do a lot of damage before the police could get into the church,” he reasoned. “Even if we had officers in the parking lot, by the time they could get inside, it would be over. We, as citizens, need to protect what we love and be willing to lay our life on the line for them.”
Churches as gun-free zones makes little sense to Dickey.
“[W]e have seen and read of folks who entered a church with the intent of doing a fair amount of hurt and killing with the guns they carried into houses of worship,” he said. “They expect people inside to be unarmed and feeling safe inside a church. This is not always the case.”
And Dickey claims that the statistics back him up.
“The truth is that in every state where the citizens are allowed to carry concealed guns, the crime rate is down,” he argued. “Conversely, in every state where citizens were not allowed to conceal carry, the crime rate has gone up. Look at California and Illinois. When people can defend themselves, you’re going to have criminals thinking twice about what they will do.
“When was the last time that you heard of a gun store being robbed?”