‘Pastors are able to protect themselves while delivering the word’: Instructor hosts concealed carry class for church leaders

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – A Martinsville-based firearms instructor hosted a concealed carry class for people more experienced with the Good Book than with guns.

More than a dozen pastors and faith leaders flocked to Willie Greene’s gun safety seminar on Saturday. The class was free, but was only open to religious leaders.

“If anybody needs to be armed, the pastors are able to protect themselves while they’re delivering the word," Greene said.

Greene decided to organize a pastors-only class because he believes places of worship are more at-risk for extremely violent attacks.

“Criminals see the churches as soft targets," Greene said. "They’re not looking for resistance, they’re looking to go in and do whatever they want to.”

Many of the pastors who attended Greene’s class shared his concerns. The vast majority said they were motivated to come in order to keep their churches safe.

“Since this is a small town and a small city, people may not think something like that can happen here, but it can happen anywhere," said Gary Copeland, a minister with Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church in Martinsville.

“Every church has to be aware of their surroundings and aware of the times in which they live," added Pastor Larry Luffman of Axton-based Freedom Ministries. "When it comes to equipping your people, our ministry is about the people first.”

Greene says he expects some people to disagree with his philosophy, but he believes above all that churches should be protected by any means necessary.

“Our pastors are praying for our souls, but while they’re doing it spiritually, you may have to protect Himself as well as his flock physically,” Greene said.

Greene is planning another pastors-only concealed carry class for the spring.

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