Alabama lawmaker wants ‘stand your ground’ protection for church members

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By Lydia Nusbaum | Posted: Mon 1:26 PM, Jan 06, 2020 | Updated: Mon 1:34 PM, Jan 06, 2020

After a gunman killed two people inside a Texas church earlier this month, an Alabama state legislator plans to introduce legislation that would add churches to the 2006 Stand Your Ground Law, reports WTVY.com.

Another church member shot and killed the gunman during the Jan. 5 incident.

Alabama State Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, said current Alabama law doesn’t do enough to protect someone who uses a gun in a church to defend the lives of others. He said his proposed legislation would establish criminal and civil immunity if a bystander uses a firearm to defend himself or another person inside a place of worship.

Greer said he has rolled out similar legislation for three years, but has made modifications to the upcoming proposal for the 2020 legislative session.

“We’re just trying to modify it to where church security teams would have some sort of protection if they had to get involved in something like this, which we hope never happens in Alabama,” Greer said.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall says Alabama law already offers protection from prosecution in cases like the one in Texas, however, saying in a statement:

“The shooting at West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas was a sobering depiction of good vs. evil in our society today. Tragically, that congregation lost two of its members; yet mercifully, Jack Wilson spared the lives of many more. Texas law was recently updated to ensure that individuals like Mr. Wilson do not have to fear the threat of prosecution for carrying a firearm in a church that allows it. Fortunately, Alabama can proudly say that it already offers this same protection. We urge every church in our state to adopt a church security plan that will better ensure the safety of their members during worship.”

Rev. Brannon Bowman has been a pastor at Millbrook Presbyterian Church for three years. Two years ago he attended training for church security. “We want to make sure people are safe, but we also want to make sure that guests and visitors and maybe some faces we don’t recognize feel welcomed and comfortable here,” he said. “One of the worst things in the world that could possibly happen is you seek to do good and to help somebody and you end up harming somebody that you’re trying to protect,” Bowman said. “So I would encourage members of our congregation or any congregation to make sure that if they’re taking that step, that they would go through the very common, the very available and usually very free training that police agencies and other law enforcement offer

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