The horrific mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, has sparked a renewed conversation about whether houses of worship should allow or encourage parishioners to carry weapons inside American churches.  Pastor Ron Smith of the Church of the King in McAllen, Texas, is among those who have spoken out in the wake of the tragedy to encourage more people to carry guns — a recommendation he hopes will help thwart future attacks and mass shootings, if and when they unfold.

“If the public carried guns, there would be less people killed by the bad guys,” Smith told KGBT-TV, adding that he doesn’t mind if people bring guns into his church. The preacher said that he believes having more guns could actually help “save lives” and said he plans to work with his church’s leadership to try and craft a policy. “If someone comes in shooting up the crowd, and there are people here that have a license to carry, they can save lives,” he added. “Those who have a license to carry concealed, I personally encourage it, but it would depend on what our elders say and the written policy that we come up with.” READ MORE