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Parishioners Ponder Packing Pistols Following Texas Massacre

PLACERVILLE, Calif. (CBS13) — It's a love of faith with a twist of fire.

"The scriptures make it clear that Jesus has issued a very quotable directive that we are to arm ourselves with the tools and machinery of lethal force," said Geoff Peabody.

Peabody teaches gun safety courses free of charge to local church members, from ministers to their security teams. But the deadly mass shooting at a Texas church that claimed 26 lives is sparking interest from religious leaders across the country packing heat to protect their congregation.

"Ministries in the faith community are getting their head out of the sand and trying to get a clue that we are actually our brother's keeper," he said.

ALSO READ: After Texas Church Shooting, 'Most Of Our Church Family Is Gone'

We first met his students after the South Carolina Church shooting that killed nine members of a bible study group. He's since trained close to 1,000 people. Deacon Bruce Shoff is one of them. He's qualified to carry a concealed weapon and he does so in church, quietly.

"We really don't talk about it. We talk about it with the safety team," he said.

He's also a coach at the range.

"God has given us the brains, the tools -- hopefully common sense that if it came down to it, we have to step in between an evil person and somebody else. He's given us that perfect timing to be there at that place," he said, referring to the Texas man no being hailed a hero for chasing the church gunman after the killings. Officials say the man wounded the suspect twice. The gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

IN PHOTOS: Gunman Kills 26, Injures 20 At Texas Church

Peabody and Shoff realize being faithful with firearms isn't for everyone. Many in their own faith community are resisting the urge to carry, and some instructors warn even a good guy with a gun can be a danger.

"You might end up shooting another concealed weapons holder you don't recognize," said police active shooter trainer Peter Blair.

Peabody is proud to say his classes have been accident-free but he prays people continue seeing the value of his mission.

"We are directed to protect the flock," said Peabody.

ALSO READ: Pres. Trump Dismisses Question On Extreme Vetting For Gun Ownership

While the courses are free, students are asked to pay for the ammo.

A two-day lesson can cost about $300.


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