State police, religious leaders debate officers carrying concealed weapons to worship


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — On Saturday, Captain Derek Borek with the Rhode Island State Police trained a group of churchgoers on what to do in an active shooter situation. During that training, he was asked what law enforcement can do to make places of worship even more safe.

His answer was that he encourages Rhode Island State Troopers to carry their concealed weapons when off-duty attending services.

“We don’t always want to be put in those situations, but if we are put in those situations we have to be able to do our job,” Borek told Eyewitness News just days after the training.

In response to troopers being encouraged to carry their concealed weapons into churches, Executive Minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches Rev. Dr. Don Anderson posted a statement on Facebook condemning the idea.

“We want people to feel safe, but there is a limit to what we’re willing to do in order to achieve that safety,” Anderson said.

He said the presence of guns would shy away the vulnerable people he invites into church and also keep those uncomfortable around guns from coming to worship.

“The potential gain for that versus what we know will be the cost is just too great,” Anderson said.

But because of proper training, Borek said people wouldn’t even know the guns are in the building.

“Why wouldn’t you want that there as a safety?” Borek said. “People wouldn’t even know that that safety exists in that church or anywhere else.”

Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Col. Ann Assumpico also released a statement about off-duty officers carrying concealed weapons with them to church:

“We suggest our troopers carry weapons while off-duty, especially these days, with so many unpredictable acts of mass violence taking place all around us. Today, more than ever, our troopers must be mentally and physically prepared to respond to any crisis that might arise, wherever that might happen – whether it be in a church, school or anywhere else.”

Borek stressed that carrying a concealed weapon is just an encouragement, and that troopers are not required to carry concealed when off duty.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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