In the wake of the recent deadly shooting at a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, one gun range owner in Indiana is offering to train members of 24 nearby churches to handle an active-shooter situation.
Top Guns owner Steve Ellis told MyWabashValley.com he felt it was his duty to help his community after 26-year-old gunman Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire on the congregation at First Baptist Church in early November, killing 26 people and injuring dozens of others.
In total, 43 people gathered at Top Guns in Terre Haute for a free lesson on gun safety and how to treat an active-shooter situation in their respective church buildings.
“It always pains me to see that the firearms industry makes money off of tragedy, and that is not what any of us want,” Ellis explained.
He said attendees were taught “situational awareness,” how to “be a good witness,” and “knowing what to look for and what to watch out for so that you can get that information and communicate to other members of the team.”
“We may not be able to catch every scenario, but man, if we can catch some of these, boy, that would be a great thing to be able to prevent the next incident from taking place,” Ellis noted.
Zach Cochran, one of the church members who took Ellis’s course, said, “It is true there is only one thing that can possibly stop a bad guy with a gun: that’s a good guy with a gun.”
He continued, “I think that if they know that there are some kind of security measures in line already. I think it makes everybody feel a little better.”
The Indiana gun range owner warned people against being paranoid about potential shootings.
“Don’t go through life being scared,” Ellis said. “But do go through life being prepared.”
Watch a local report about the gun range course below.