Ala. offers protection from prosecution in cases like Texas church shooting, AG says

Alabama church security efforts

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama State Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, said he will propose legislation this year that would add churches to the 2006 Stand Your Ground Law.

On Sunday, a gunman killed two people inside a Texas church before another church member shot and killed him.

Greer claims current Alabama law doesn’t do enough to provide immunity for someone who uses a gun in a church in defense of other people. He believes his proposed legislation would provide criminal and civil immunity if an armed person used a firearm to defend themselves or another person in a place of worship.

Greer said he has proposed similar legislation for three years, but there are additional modifications for the upcoming proposal for the 2020 legislative session.

“We’re just trying to modify it to where church security teams would have some sort of protection if they had to get involved in something like this, which we hope never happens in Alabama,” Greer said.

However, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall says Alabama law already offers protection from prosecution in cases like the one in Texas.

Marshall released this statement:

“The shooting at West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas was a sobering depiction of good vs. evil in our society today. Tragically, that congregation lost two of its members; yet mercifully, Jack Wilson spared the lives of many more. Texas law was recently updated to ensure that individuals like Mr. Wilson do not have to fear the threat of prosecution for carrying a firearm in a church that allows it. Fortunately, Alabama can proudly say that it already offers this same protection. We urge every church in our state to adopt a church security plan that will better ensure the safety of their members during worship.”
Attorney General Steve Marshall

Rev. Brannon Bowman has been a pastor at Millbrook Presbyterian Church for three years. Unfortunately those tragedies remind Bowman that he needs to keep the congregation safe.

“You’re always horrified at the loss of life,” he said.

Two years ago he attended continued education for church security.

“We want to make sure people are safe, but we also want to make sure that guests and visitors and maybe some faces we don’t recognize feel welcomed and comfortable here," he said.

Bowman says if people legally carry a firearm in church, he wants them to have adequate training.

“One of the worst things in the world that could possibly happen is you seek to do good and to help somebody and you end up harming somebody that you’re trying to protect," Bowman said. “So I would encourage members of our congregation or any congregation to make sure that if they’re taking that step, that they would go through the very common, the very available and usually very free training that police agencies and other law enforcement offer."

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