Texas pastor says he'll now carry gun while preaching

Posted: Updated:
First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas
(ABC) -

A south Texas pastor said he plans to carry a handgun when he preaches in the wake of the Sutherland Springs church massacre.

Pastor Jaime Chapa of El Faro Bible Church in Sullivan City, Texas said he will be armed when he preaches to his small congregation of 50, and so will a few of his parishioners.

"There will be three armed [licensed] persons at all times at every service," Chapa told ABC affiliate KRGV on Monday. "Nobody needs to know who they are, but our church will be protected."

Chapa said he made the decision after hearing about the attack at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Sunday morning, which left 26 people dead, including an unborn child, and at least 20 others injured.

"What happened in Sutherland will not ever happen in our church," Chapa said. "This was not supposed to happen."

Authorities said the alleged gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, was wrongly able to purchase firearms after the Air Force failed to report his domestic violence court-martial to an FBIdatabase.

Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assaulting his spouse and their child, records show. Kelley received a bad conduct discharge, confinement for 12 months and a reduction of his military status.

Gunman once fled mental health center, threatened superiors

Gunman checked each aisle, shot babies at point-blank range

Other churches in the southern Texas area said they also planned to increase security in the aftermath of the shooting.

The McAllen First Baptist Church, located about four hours south of Sutherland Springs, said it would implement new procedures for church members with concealed handgun licenses to make each other aware of who is carrying.

"We are putting that into place so our concealed-carry people know each other, but we are also setting things up to where they're located strategically throughout the auditorium in the services that we have," the church’s pastor, Shannon Talley, told KRGV earlier this week.

Chapa said this new plan will be the right protection for his congregation, especially since he can’t afford to pay security officers. Others see tighter gun control as the real solution.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Tuesday announced plans to introduce legislation that he says will strengthen the national background check system.

"Under existing law this atrocity should have been prevented," Cornyn said in a speech from the Senate floor. "We need to better understand why our existing laws didn’t work in this instance and that’s what my proposed legislation will do."

Some Democrats said those efforts would not go far enough to effectively curb gun violence, but called the proposal a step in the right direction.

  • SportsMore>>

  • Andale and McPherson to spar in 4A-D1 Sub-State

    Andale and McPherson to spar in 4A-D1 Sub-State

    We're in store for a wild night in McPherson Friday as the Bullpups are set to host the undefeated Andale Indians in their Class 4A-D1 Sub-State contest.

    We're in store for a wild night in McPherson Friday as the Bullpups are set to host the undefeated Andale Indians in their Class 4A-D1 Sub-State contest.

  • Hosmer, Moustakas, Cain, 6 others turn down $17.4M offers

    Hosmer, Moustakas, Cain, 6 others turn down $17.4M offers

    Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and outfielder Lorenzo Cain were among nine free agents who turned down $17.4 million qualifying offers from their teams Thursday. 

    Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and outfielder Lorenzo Cain were among nine free agents who turned down $17.4 million qualifying offers from their teams Thursday. 

  • Cloud County stuns top ranked Hutch CC

    Cloud County stuns top ranked Hutch CC

    Cloud County needed overtime to take down the defending national champs.  

    Cloud County needed overtime to take down the defending national champs.  

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have a photo to share with us? Email it to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE