Louisville church allowing members to arm themselves after Kroger shooting

Published: Nov. 12, 2018 at 11:07 PM EST
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A Louisville church is allowing members to carry guns to service after a shooting at a nearby Kroger that killed two people.

Gregory Bush, 51, was arrested in that shooting. Investigators said before he went to the grocery store, he tried to get into First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown.

First Baptist has now asked members who have law enforcement or security experience to carry guns to service and Bible studies. However, church leaders would need to be notified if someone with a concealed carry permit wanted to bring a gun to church.

Pastor Keith Tyler of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Lexington said he understands the Jeffersontown church's decision to arm themselves, pointing to a long history of racially motivated attacks on houses of worship.

"From the bombing on 16th Street, to Charleston, to present day religious entities and organizations, it will not stop us from coming together," Tyler said.

Tyler said his church does not have a specific policy on whether congregants can conceal carry inside the church and they don't plan on changing that anytime soon. Instead, he said they will rely on the will of God.

"If we are martyrs for our belief in Christ Jesus and for coming to worship, we will not be the first martyrs and we will not be the last martyrs if that is God's will for us," Tyler said.

However, Tyler said the church does believe in self-preservation, which is why the building is fitted with security lights, and doors that are kept locked. Tyler said ex-military members and others regularly patrolling the building during services, however, they are not armed.

The FBI is still investigating the shooting at the Louisville-area Kroger as a hate crime. Bush is still in jail on a $5 million bond.