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Ministers and church security personnel have been training in California’s Sierra foothills, according to this story from CBS News.

Gun safety instructor Geof Peabody offers his class to members of any church and says he has trained more than 500 people in the last eight years, according to the story. Graduates of his class qualify to carry a concealed firearm, and many of his students do so in church, the story says.

“Safe and saved. We accomplish both with the right training,” Peabody said in the interview.

CBS correspondent John Blackstone asked if carrying a gun in church goes against the sanctity of the place in any way. “Not at all, not at all,” said Bruce Schoff in the story. Schoff serves on the security team at his church. “The Bible tells us to be our brother’s protector…it’s just another tool.”

Micah Anderson, who leads the youth ministry at his church, told Blackstone that self-protection is his motivating factor.

“The drive behind it is so I can protect myself and my family,” Anderson said in the story. “The fact that I also work at the church and serve in that way is just an added benefit.”

Blackstone also talked to El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostin and asked him if he feels safer with more people carrying concealed.

“Absolutely,” D’Agostini said. “These are law-abiding people. It’s the evil criminals that are the threat.”

The story says that CCW permits in the county are “sharply on the rise,” but didn’t provide any statistics.

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