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Armed parishioners saved 'untold number of lives.' This law made it legal to have guns in church

Posted at 5:34 AM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 21:33:46-05

BY HOLLIE SILVERMAN, CNN (CNN) — A shooter at a church in White Settlement, Texas, was taken down by parishioners with guns seconds after he began firing Sunday.

Those parishioners, who were also volunteer members of the church's security team, are able to carry guns into church due to a law passed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in response to another deadly church shooting that took the lives of 26 people in 2017.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick referred to the law during a Sunday night press conference, saying that it was passed following the deadly shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. It took effect in September, Patrick said.

Senate Bill 535 took effect in Septemberand clarifies possession of firearms at places of worship. The bill allows licensed handgun owners to legally carry their weapons in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship.

"We have learned many times over that there is no such thing as a gun-free zone. Those with evil intentions will violate the law and carry out their heinous acts no matter what," state Sen. Donna Campbell, co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement when the bill was passed in September. "It makes no sense to disarm the good guys and leave law-abiding citizens defenseless where violent offenders break the law to do great harm."

Lt. Gov. Patrick also mentioned a second law that was recently passed that waives the fees charged to private institutions that have their own security teams.

He lauded the heroic actions of those volunteer security members. "They were well trained, well trained. The heroism today is unparalleled. This team responded quickly and within six seconds the shooting was over," Patrick said. "Two of the parishioners who are volunteers on the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately saving untold number of lives."

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