Local pastor vows to carry a gun in wake of Texas church shooting

In light of the church shooting in Texas, there are new questions about local police resources.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A local pastor promises to pack from the pulpit, preparing to protect her parishioners if a gunman were to walk into her church on any given Sunday.

Pastor Brenda Stevenson woke up Monday morning, heard about the massacre in Texas and went straight to the courthouse. With $90 in hand, she proceeded to file the paperwork for her conceal carry permit.

"I saw that, and my heart was broke," she said.

The head of the New Outreach Christian Center began the process of getting a gun two years ago after the shooting at the church in Charleston left nine people dead.

Stevenson said she did not file the appropriate forms in time so her application was put on hold.

Now that she's seen another church terrorized, Stevenson was not wasting another minute.

"I want them to know that the hand of God is here but we have two new members that have joined: Smith and Wesson," Stevenson said.

Churches across the Carolinas are taking action, and coming up with action plans.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Lieutenant Steve Huber said CMPD's active-shooter training classes are fully booked through at least January.

CMPD has trained as many as 75 churches in the area on what to do if a gunman shows up.

"We don't try to scare people, we try to prepare people," Huber said.

While Huber said they cannot offer a church-specific plan, they can provide generic information, or review an existing plan that the church leadership sets up. Huber said they also offer site inspections to alert churches about possible breach points and safety vulnerabilities.

Huber said many churches hire outside security or off-duty officers to help protect their property. However, there are many that do not.

He estimates 15 percent of churches in Charlotte have no emergency plan whatsoever. Huber calls the lack of preparation dangerous.

"If you don't have training, if you've never even thought about it, you're gonna rely on your instincts. An, unfortunately, some people's instincts are built upon a weak foundation," Huber said.

Stevenson vows her church's foundation will be strong.

"We need protection," she said.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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