A handgun on a bible (pictured above).

One of the most important rights we have as American citizens is the right to bear arms. Without it, many of us would live in constant fear. A gun provides many with comfort as well as protection. It gives people the ability to fall asleep knowing their loved ones are safe. However, simply owning a gun doesn’t make someone an expert in how to use it. To become proficient, they must attend weapons training courses. As the demand for guns increases, so does the necessity for proper instruction. To help meet this need, some are getting creative.

In response to the growing demand for gun training, churches across the state of Oklahoma are offering gun safety lessons alongside their bible study. This helps promote the word of God as well as responsible gun use and ownership. This may even break the stereotypes of reckless gun owners.

Armed Christians listening to a church service.

According to reports, churchgoing Christians in Oklahoma are being taught how to defend themselves with a gun. The program, led by firearms instructor Roy Jones, has taught roughly 5,000 students over the last decade how to properly handle a firearm. However, instead of working at a usual training facility, Jones takes his courses to churches across the state, calling it, “not your typical gun class.” Since he teaches at a church, he also educates his students more about Christianity.

Despite what some may think, Jones argues that self-defense and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle,” he quoted during an interview with Fox News. He reasons that although the scripture teaches love and compassion, if someone’s life is in danger, then it’s perfectly acceptable to do whatever is necessary to protect them. The same goes for self-defense. “We will turn the other cheek…I’m the least likely guy to pull out a gun in a fight,” he claimed, adding, “but we will not turn the other cheek if you’re going to assault my family or cut off my head in the process.”

His eight-hour course teaches people how to handle weapons, makes them take a 15-question exam, lets them practice at a private range, and informs people about relevant state laws gun owners should be aware of. He also teaches people how to avoid being arrested if they shoot someone in self-defense. He tells his students, ““you show the officer respect, but you never consent. You have to articulate that you were the victim, but you say, ‘With all due respect, you will have my full cooperation after I seek my legal counsel.”

Churchgoers learning how to properly handle a firearm.

Some argue that he’s just using religion to make extra money. However, he claims that this assumption is inaccurate. Instead, he wants people to know what to do in a dangerous situation. Unless properly trained, an armed person in a life-threatening situation could panic and either miss the aggressor or accidentally hit an innocent bystander. In response to people who claim he’s just “getting rich by using God’s name,’” he stated, “I’m just one little guy. Do I make a little money? Yes. But I’m not doing this to get rich.”

Instead, he insists that his courses are designed to teach people self-defense. He believes that people should be prepared if they find themselves in a dangerous situation. There are countless stories that reinforce the importance of gun ownership. One news story that Jones mentioned to journalists had to do with a woman recently killed by two pit bulls. Another story involved a fatal stabbing at a food distribution center. He asked reporters, “can you imagine what went through her mind the last few minutes of her life?” He argues that both of these deaths could have been averted “if they’d had a legal gun and been trained to use it.”

Many who attend Jones’ class understand firsthand why owning a gun is important. Wendy Johnson, one of his students, claims that she started taking the class after her friend was mugged. “One day, my co-worker did not show up for work,” she stated, explaining “someone had attacked her in a parking lot and had literally beaten her face. I don’t want to see anyone else in the ER with a swollen face because someone hit them in the head for their purse.”

Legal firearms don’t just protect people out in public, they also protect people at home. Earlier this year, three armed intruders broke into a house in Oklahoma. Thankfully, the homeowner’s son heard them breaking in and raced downstairs with an AR-15. Upon seeing them, he opened fire, striking and killing all three. And just recently, an armed intruder kicked down the door of a random house in Las Vegas, Nevada and attempted to rob the person inside. However, the resident had a weapon, and once he stepped inside, the burglar was shot dead.

Guns also protect people at work. Last month, an armed burglar attempted to rob a store at gunpoint. Fortunately, one of the other associates in the back heard the commotion and had a gun. He snuck up behind him and got him to surrender. Video of the altercation can be seen below (Warning: Graphic video):

States like Oklahoma and Nevada have legislation, known as “Stand Your Ground” laws, which offer a broad range of protections for gun owners defending their life or property. Their legislation makes it legal for someone to use “reasonable force, including deadly force” if someone is unlawfully entering “the dwelling, place of business or employment, or occupied vehicle,” of another person.

Unfortunately, not all states are friendly towards gun owners. Republican lawmakers in Oregon recently betrayed their party by introducing legislation that allows for the confiscation of personal guns. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas), makes it possible for an immediate family member to strip someone of their Second Amendment right. It also makes it more difficult to buy a gun. Those who make it more difficult for people to have a gun put the lives of others at risk. They must be voted out of office and replaced with pro-gun conservatives.

The importance of gun ownership is undeniable. Programs like the one offered by Jones help people not just own a gun but understand how to use it. This gives people the opportunity to protect the ones they love so God can focus on other things. Conservatives nationwide must do everything possible to ensure the Second Amendment is not infringed upon. Those who wish to disarm the country must not succeed. If they do, innocent people will die.