Don’t get all upset with me about that headline. I know this is a family publication. But if you are talking about religion, you have to have some concept of Heaven and Hell. I was just being emphatic, not trying to lead anyone astray. But, I digress.

Let’s talk about carrying a gun in church. For some, the very idea of carrying a gun in a church is repugnant. For others, well, it is a fact of life. Personally, I am more upset with the idea that we NEED to carry guns in houses of worship than I am about the fact that people do carry guns in houses of worship.

Evil has come to our churches. We have seen it. If you are not ready to stop an attack on your church, then you should be ready to take cover and hope your prayers work.

I cannot tell you the number of church groups that have reached out to the USCCA for help and guidance defending their congregations and ensuring those who would defend the flock are also protected from the legal system. I can’t tell you because the number increases every day—and most request that we not reveal who is asking and what methods they choose to employ.

It is that very discretion that is so important for effective concealed carry inside a place of worship. To do this correctly, your pistol must be completely concealed and must never be revealed. There is no need to cause any angst and many modern holster options ensure that your gun will only be seen if it is needed.

As always, remember that carrying a gun is just one part of a personal defense plan. You need to consider other elements beyond the hardware. First among these is communication with others who may be armed in your church. If you feel comfortable approaching one of the lay leaders and discussing building security during services, by all means do so. You may find that a plan is already in place and you are welcome to become part of that plan.

If, for whatever reason, you choose not to address the issue of armed security with other members of the congregation, develop a plan on your own. It starts with positioning. As you know, most churchgoers enter through the main door and are seated with their backs to that door during services. A lone attacker will likely enter that same door. Whether or not the attacker will target the congregation or the officiate of the services is a coin toss. If he decides to strike the congregation, those closest to the door will likely be targeted first.

Giving yourself and your family some distance and offset from that main entry door is a great place to start. Don’t sit very near the center aisle and don’t stay to the rear of the church.

If there are other entrances to the church, especially entrances from the street, you should know where those entrances are and be keenly aware of who enters those locations, especially if the person is coming in after the services have started. Those entrances are also exits in the event that you need to get your family out of harm’s way.

As with any mass shooting event, shot selection, target isolation, and your ability to hit your target under stress and massive confusion are paramount. The best advice is to seek cover and hold your fire until you know beyond any doubt you can stop the threat. You may have to learn to shoot on the move; send your family toward safety and crush the distance between you and the attacker to stop him immediately. The options are endless and the training for such eventualities should not be taken lightly.

This short column should by no means be considered training in the elements of defending a house of worship. This is simply me starting the discussion. Think about this. Think about the number of attacks on churches and start developing a plan and the skills to defend against such an attack.

The help that is coming will not get there in time to stop the shooter.