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A new Texas law will allow state churches to arm members of the congregation

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A new law going into effect in September will allow churches to arm members of the congregation.

Churches like Abundant Life Ministries can only hire private security companies or off-duty police officers for security during services, but a newly passed law will let churches decide if they want to arm members of their own church.

The pastor at Abundant Life in Central El Paso, Walter Dimmit, said the church is too small to be able to afford to hire security, but he said he and the other pastor are in favor of this law.

Dimmitt said gun free zones are the least safest places to be. He is licensed to carry a gun himself. He doesn't normally arm himself at church, but he said there was one incident where he did have a gun when someone was there with a weapon.

"We had a situation several months ago where we had one of our parishioners who is being threatened, very actively threatened, because I have a concealed carry license, I came to church armed for fear of her situation," Dimmitt said. "So we are in favor of this law being passed."

Dimmitt said the threatened woman was afraid of her life and the man knew she attended this church. He said he knows churches and religions are target sometimes, and this is the safest way to defend his congregation.

The law only gives churches clearance to arm licensed gun carriers. Senate Bill 20-65 goes into effect September 1.

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