A North Texas pastor says he isn't taking any chances after a shooting Sunday at a Tennessee church, where one woman was killed and six others were wounded.
The Rev. Brian Ulch, of Trinity Lighthouse Church in Denison, packs a pistol and says he feels a great sense of responsibility to protect his congregation.
"Our desire is to be able to meet any need that comes through our doors, whether it's ministry, medical or an active threat," Ulch said.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Ulch said increased threats against houses of worship inspired him to make a choice.
"We sought out to what we could so, within our power, to make sure they were legally, tactically and practically protecting the flock," he said.
Ulch contacted Chuck Chadwick, the president of the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management in Frisco. The organization has more than 300 personal protection officers or "gatekeepers" in 60 churches across Texas.
"We give them the laws on use of force, the soft hand or the laying on of hands in an unhealing way, which is the manipulation that law enforcement do," Chadwick said.
Chadwick added that the protection officers, like Ulch, attend a state licensed security school and are effectively positioned to keep the bad guys out.
"We have a saying that's 'call to train and trained to call,' so there's people that feel that calling to be a protector," Chadwick said.
It's protection and, for some, peace of mind on what Ulch says should be sacred ground.
"I don't want to be the one that makes the phone call to that family member and says we could have been proactive, but we chose not to because we didn't think it would ever happen," Ulch said.
A variety of classes are held regularly at the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management. For more information, click here.