MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One local parishioner is now packing when he goes praying following the church massacre in Charleston.READ MORE: Wong Leads Brewers To 7-3 Win Over The Marlins
“It’s a nice easy draw. I like this gun especially – look at the laser beam,” said Jim Kononoff.
He has a concealed weapons permit and says he is well trained.
The way he sees it, no matter where you go, there are sheep and there are wolves looking to harm them. He considers himself a sheepdog – a protector.
“Sheepdogs are people who have empathy for their fellow man, yet they know how to use their teeth. They will never, it’s like sheepdog code, they will never ever harm a sheep,” he explained.
Now the debate is beginning at many churches – how do they protect themselves from hate?
At Mount Hermon AME Church in Fort Lauderdale, armed security will be there for Sunday services and Wednesday night Bible study. They also hired off duty police officers and are installing cameras.READ MORE: Varieties Of Starburst, Skittles & Life Savers Gummies Recalled
“We believe that it will be a deterrent for those kinds of acts, but it will also add a feeling of safety and security,” said Rev. Henry Green.
Martin Memorial AME Church in Richmond Heights is also installing cameras.
Rev. Anthony Reed told CBS4 they plan to have heightened security, including unarmed, trained parishioners who not only pray but protect.
“Certainly we don’t want to move to persons carrying weapons, but right now I think the churches across the country are safe places we just got to make sure the membership keeps an eye on the congregation as well,” said Reed.
The murder spree devastated Reed, a Charleston native who knew two of the victims well. He, like others, is praying for strength and understanding.
“The church will not be fearful. Pastors are not going to be afraid to go on our pulpits, leaders are not going to be afraid to come to church,” said Reed.MORE NEWS: Rickenbacker Causeway Shut Down After Vehicle Hits & Kills 2 Cyclists
Reed will be on the pulpit as usual on Sunday. Then on Monday he’s going to be leaving Miami for Charleston where he will be grieving and worshiping with family and friends there.