White House Tells Churches How To ‘Run, Hide, or Fight’ When Gunmen Attack
For the first time, federal guidelines offer ‘concrete direction’ on church shootings.
Given that deaths from church attacks surged 36 percent last year, the White House has—for the first time—told churches and other houses of worship how they should respond to a gunman.
The most interesting detail: Encouragement to not only run and hide, but to fight back as a last resort.
The Obama administration’s “Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operating Plans for Houses of Worship” tells churches how to respond to “Active Shooter Situations,” as well as natural disasters and other types of emergencies.
The guide is part of a series of online resources, training procedures, and support for houses of worship, schools, colleges, and universities.
“The question of how best to subdue a gunman is likely to rekindle a debate within many churches, particularly in parts of the country where it is common to carry weapons,” notes RNS. “Should congregants bring guns to church?”
Churches and other places of worship are often “soft targets” for the criminally-inclined now that security at other public places has increased, said Carl Chinn, an expert on church security, in an interviewlast year with CT sister site Managing Your Church. He believes churches should take the time to have a safety plan in place, regardless of their size or resources. “Be aware,” he said. “Do simple things to make sure people are safe.”
Chinn calculates that deaths from church attacks surged 36% last year. CT has previously spotlighted how the surge in church shootings is real, prompting pastors to rethink security at church services.