Photo of Sheriff Richard K. Jones courtesy of Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
The Butler County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Office will offer free concealed-carry weapons courses to church security personnel according to a Dec. 31, 2019 press release.
“You need somebody that when everybody else is praying, their eyes are wide open and watching over everyone,” Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones told America’s 1st Freedom. “If their church’s leadership agrees to do it, we’re going to train these people at no cost.”
The response was immediate. “Probably within two days we had 200 people that sent emails in. We’ve been inundated with people from other states and counties as well,” said Jones.
“We’re going to make these churches much safer. In Ohio, you can carry if leadership says it’s okay. We’re not just going to train them; they need the authority or permission to carry. We’re only going to train those the church hierarchy wants trained and we’re going to help them set up security, big or large churches, we’re going to make this happen. We have two classes schedule in February and we have enough room for 50 in each class. We’re going to make churches in Butler County safer,” added Jones.
Noting that most places of worship don’t already have adequate security in place, Jones added, “It doesn’t matter what size the church is, but you should be able to come to church and pray and relax. We’ve got to get it done, the sooner, the better.”
Though the Butler County Sheriff’s Office can only offer concealed-carry courses to church security teams within the county, Jones noted that his office would help other agencies implement similar programs.
The announcement came days after a lawfully armed and well-trained citizen stopped a murderer seconds after he opened fire in a Texas congregation.
Speaking about that incident, Jones said, “The Texas shooting was over in six seconds, a good guy with a weapon, one shot. Five or six seconds more would’ve been many more dead, so you’ve got to be prepared for this and you have to have security, period.”
Reactions on social media were overwhelmingly positive, with many users thanking the sheriff and praising the decision. “Thank you. No one, regardless of faith, should feel vulnerable or be targeted in their place of worship,” wrote one person on Facebook.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praised the laws that allowed churchgoers to carry their firearms at places of worship. “The immediate responder is the most important; the citizen responder. Because even though the chief’s brave officers were [at the church] in less than a minute … by the time they got [to the church], the shooting was over. And that always happens, that over 50% of shootings, our first responders, it’s usually over when they get there, no matter how hard they try,” Patrick told the Dallas Morning News.
The full statement from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office:
For Immediate Release
December 31, 2019
Sheriff Richard K. Jones reports, in light of the recent church shooting that occurred in Texas on Sunday, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office is offering free CCW classes to churches that have or are implementing security teams. To register you will have to be involved in a church security team that is approved and set up by your church leader or administration. Limited space available, interested participates are to send the Butler County Sheriff’s Office an email at [email protected].
“Unfortunately, in these days and times, no place is immune from mass shootings and we want our citizens to go to church without worry and fear feeling safe and secure to worship with their families and fellow church members,” states Sheriff Jones.