The Houston-area Hot Wells Shooting Range in Cypress is reportedly offering free “license to carry” classes for clergy who feel the need to provide a safe environment in their houses of worship.
“Ministers, priests, any church leaders that want to come out and protect their flock,” Josh Vacek, the range’s general manager, said in an interview with a KHOU about the offer. “We want to help them do that. “The way to do that is by strapping on a gun and upholding the law and being prepared.”
Hot Wells’ offer comes in the aftermath of a shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.
As reports indicate, the gunman, later identified as Devin Patrick Kelly, 26, of New Braunfels, entered the First Baptist Church and began firing a Ruger AR-556 rifle.
The shooting left 26 parishioners dead and another 20 wounded.
Kelley reportedly received a bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Air Force in 2012 on a domestic violence charge.
Although federal law prohibits people convicted of domestic violence from purchasing firearms, officers reportedly never entered the charges from his court martial into the National Criminal Information Center’s database – one which, under law, is to be cross referenced before firearm dealers are permitted to sell in Texas.
KHOU said it contacted several local clergy members regarding the Hot Wells offer, some of whom they found recorded previous experience with firearms.
However, none of the contacted group said they would consider taking the class, nor did they say they would carry any weapons into their houses of worship.
Neither Vacek nor anyone else affiliated with Hot Wells would comment on if the offer extended to non-Christian clergy, such as rabbis, imams or Buddhist monks.