The Antioch church shooting, has sparked an important conversation about guns in churches. While most churches have safety plans in place, for smaller churches, those plans do not include guns.

Tennessee law is to the point, people can legally carry a weapon, however, if your packing a gun in church, and the pastor knows it, that church may have to pay higher insurance premiums, creating a large liability for the church and it's congregation.

Mark LeMay is the risk director for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, he advises it's thirty-one-hundred churches,  how to keep their place of worship safe. Most of the Conventions churches are small, and can't afford higher insurance premiums, so, if someone is carrying a gun into church, here's what  they should do.

"So it's very important for our churches to take on a culture of not sharing that you have that weapons, or sharing that weapon with anyone," said LeMay.

So, you may be sitting next to someone in church carrying, and not even know it. This is what LeMay recommends to smaller congregations.

"That they have a pro-active plan, so that they have radio systems where someone is outside, another inside, because the key here, is to keep the assailant on the outside of the facility," said LeMay.

Highland Park Church in West Nashville, has six-hundred, to one-thousand people fill their church on Sunday. The church can afford the higher premiums, so they sanction certain church goers to carry guns, like Tim Mason, a former Metro homicide detective, he and other former and active duty law enforcement, are part of the church safety team plan.

"It actually includes most any type of emergency we have including an active shooter," said Mason.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Alan Frio is the anchor of News4's evening newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays.

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