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Should worship include weapons?

Should worship include weapons? (WPEC)

Prayers, pews, and pistols. Guns could soon be allowed inside churches and religious institutions across the state.

Proponents say it could save us from the bad guy when seconds matter most.

But it's also causing controversy and debate.

“Now you actually have people seriously saying that we should arm all the parishioners. What a prescription for violence,” said Rabbi Barry Silver, Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor.

Rabbi Barry Silver, leader of a synagogue in Boynton Beach, is not happy with a bill being debated in Tallahassee.

If passed, it would allow a person with a permit to carry a concealed weapon to bring a firearm into any church, synagogue or religious institution in Florida.

“It’s a pretty sad day when we have to have guns in churches. It violates everything that churches and synagogues stand for,” Rabbi Silver said.

Rabbi Silver says guns should never be welcome in places of worship.

“To bring it into the church and the synagogue, the very places where we should be telling people to not rely on weapons, is a horrible idea,” Rabbi Silver said.

“We feel that for us as a church, it’s our responsibility to protect our constituents,” said Pastor Mark D. Boykin, Church of All Nations Boca Raton.

Pastor Mark D. Boykin at the Church of All Nations Boca Raton supports the bill.

He says at every one of their worship services, there’s always at least one armed person inside the church.

“We deal with a lot of people who come in off the streets. They come into the sanctuary and some of them can say some very scary things. To be honest with you, I think it’s become more and more dangerous all the time,” Pastor Boykin said.

Pastor Boykin says besides having guns in the church, he feels it would be smart to go a step further and have metal detectors at church entrances.

If the bill passes, it would go into effect in July 2018.



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