The federal government has released a guidebook to help churches respond to shooters and other on-site emergencies as part of President Obama’s executive actions to fight gun violence.
Titled “A Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operation Plans for Houses of Worship,” it offers suggestions and instructions apart from any laws or mandates. The guidebook is the work of a panel of 100 experts encompassing faith leaders, first responders, law enforcement officers, educators and emergency planners, who also released books for K-12 schools and higher education.
The faith leaders wanted to talk about making schools safer — and more, Vice President Joe Biden said in announcing the guidebook.
“They know, they’re worried, that their congregations are at risk. So they wanted to know what should they be thinking about when someone stands up in the middle of a congregation and decides to do something similar to what we saw in the schools,” Biden said of the group’s deliberations.
“So we gave concrete direction. We said, all of you come up with what you think are the best practices, the most concrete recommendations that you could give us that will enable us to teach or prepare or lay out a menu for the school districts and churches.”
The guide advises churches to develop a plan of action and, in the event of an active shooter in the church, to have the congregation already trained to “run, hide, or fight” depending on opportunity. Nowhere does the document advise church members to arm themselves with guns or other weapons.
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