In the aftermath of a recent mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 dead, a gun rights group announced Thursday that its next training event will focus on protecting places of worship.
The Wisconsin-based United States Concealed Carry Association will debut its online video series Nov. 12, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
The virtual training will feature USCCA trainers leading sessions on “what to do when there is an active shooter in your church, what you can do to prepare, where your security team members should sit, tips on deadly force decision making, and the proper size of a house of worship security team."
“Sadly, this latest shooting is a reminder that too many lives have been lost because murderous maniacs know that our places of worship are soft targets where those inside often don’t have the ability to protect themselves,” USCCA president Tim Schmidt said.
“Sadly, this latest shooting is a reminder that too many lives have been lost because murderous maniacs know that our places of worship are soft targets where those inside often don’t have the ability to protect themselves.”
The free video series will be followed by a live training event that will be broadcast across the group’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts, where experts will take questions from the online audience.
Authorities say suspect Robert Bowers, 46, entered Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue last Saturday and opened fire, killing 11 and wounded others in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack on U.S. soil.
President Trump said the “results could have been much better" had someone inside the synagogue been armed.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, a gun-control advocate, said the focus should be on passing new gun-control measures instead of arming worshipers.
"We shouldn’t be trying to find ways to minimize the dangers that occur from irrational behavior," Peduto said at a news conference this week. “I think the approach that we need to be looking at is how we take the guns, which is the common denominator of every mass shooting in America, out of the hands of those who are looking to express hatred through murder."
Even before the shooting, some places of worship had already begun implementing security measures.
One Florida church last year made it clear the facility was not a gun-free zone after a gunman killed 26 people at a small Texas Baptist church. Another church in South Carolina hired uniformed sheriff’s deputies for Sunday services, the New York Times reported.
The Pittsburgh attack has reinvigorated the debate on how vulnerable places like schools and churches should respond to deadly attacks.
Schmidt told the Free Beacon that he understands Peduto’s perspective, but that people should be prepared for potential threats in a world where evil exists.
"There's always going to be evil in the world and you can either be prepared for it or not,” he said. "From my perspective, I don't want people to be paranoid. I want them to be prepared. Preparation and paranoia are not the same thing."