As his 30-some parishioners stood in a circle asking God for protection, something changed for the pastor of Joyful Heart. An act of mass violence in his Stockdale, Tex., church was no longer unthinkable. Ten miles away, 26 people were dead at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, the deadliest shooting at a house of worship in the country’s modern history.

That night, Tillman-Young and parish leaders held a vigil for their neighbor church. The next day, they decided to arm their own.

It seems natural to defend oneself. I would not attend a church which does not allow the congregation to carry. No good shepherd would invite wolves to the flock.

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