The top law enforcement officer in Texas says churches need to defend themselves from mass shootings because changing gun laws won't stop them.
"I'm always open to ideas about how we can prevent violence," Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday. "On the other hand, there are evil people who are going to do this."
Paxton was interviewed by NBC 5 in his Texas Capitol office.
Paxton said mass shootings like the one in Sutherland Springs are sadly a sign of the times but there isn't much lawmakers can do.
Asked if any laws should be changed, he said, "I don't know what law could have changed this situation. Here's a guy — there's laws against murder. He clearly didn't care about that law, so if you add another gun law, what impact would it have had on this guy when he's willing to kill people?"
Paxton said his own church in North Texas pays for professional armed security, and suggests all churches, big and small, do the same.
"If you can't afford that, maybe it's a decent idea to get some people in your congregation trained and ready to respond," he said. "Had there been people in that building, ready to respond, it could have made a huge difference."
Under Texas' concealed carry law, churches can forbid people from taking guns inside by simply posting their policy on the door.
But Paxton said churches that don't allow even parishioners to carry guns are making a big mistake.
"You've got to have people ready and able to respond to these situations," he said. "We just have to do a better job of being prepared, ready and able to respond, and not just law enforcement."