South Mississippi pastor addresses recent guns in church law

South Mississippi pastor addresses recent guns in church law

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Gov. Phil Bryant recently signed House Bill 786 into law, giving more protection to gun owners.

The law allows church authorities to develop security programs that allow enhanced carry permit holders, or those with law enforcement backgrounds, to protect sanctuaries with protection from legal recourse under the state's "Castle Doctrine" law.

Oasis Church in Pascagoula has had an armed security team in place since they opened seven years ago.

"People expect that and I think people actually appreciate that you've taken measures to keep them and their kids safe," said Rev. Eric Camp.

Camp says out of the 20 person team, seven to 10 already carry guns.

"People are people wherever you go - in church, Walmart, wherever," said Camp. "We feel like with the culture the way that it is, and the potential of risk that's there with people wanting to commit crime, we feel like it is just a necessary thing to add so that we can protect our people and our children."

The church prides itself in its security system; especially in keeping the large number of children that attend safe.

"I mean, this is a culture that's going down the wrong road, per say, and churches are no longer off limits," said Camp. "I do have friends that have had shootings at their churches - namely New Life Church in Colorado Springs several years ago where people actually died - and so that was somewhat of an inspiration to make sure that we have a security team in place."

Director of security Joel Browning says the new law is necessary in preventing any potentially dangerous incidents.

"There have been a couple instances we've had that would be considered close to being that. It could have lead to that, but it did not leave down that route with people who were known to be 'high risk' if you will," Browning said.

Camp says with the addition of the law, he plans to add to his security team soon.

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