There are new legal protections for people trying to keep Oklahoma’s houses of worship safe.
Congregations of all sizes across Green Country say security is always front of mind and a newly-signed law is having them reevaluate their procedures.
The bill expands a law that already exists in Oklahoma, called the Stand Your Ground law.
Now, people can use deadly force if they are threatened in their homes, businesses, and in places of worship.
HillSpring Church pastor Brent Kellogg takes the safety of his congregation seriously.
The Sand Springs church has officers patrolling and security inside and outside of the building.
Members are allowed to conceal carry their guns, but not open carry.
“If a bad guy wants to do bad, he is going to do bad,” said Kellogg. “Our goal is to minimize the access that he has and minimize the time he has to do it.”
On Monday, Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2632 into law.
The bill says Oklahomans have the right to “absolute safety” in their own homes, businesses, and, now, places of worship.
That means that citizens have the right to use deadly force against anyone who “unlawfully or forcefully” enters any place on that list.
“I don’t think we are going to have any immediate or knee-jerk reactions, but we are certainly going to be aware of what is going on and what changes to our security plan we may need to make,” Kellogg said.
Kellogg says he isn’t sure what the next few years will hold after the law is in place, and he hopes people can focus on the reason they are going to church and not guns.
“We want people to be able to worship,” he said. “We are in the church business. We want people to come to church, not have to worry about if they are in a safe environment, a secure environment, and know that we care enough to take care of the details.”
The law goes into effect November 1st of this year.