Two South Jersey pastors believe in the power of prayer, but also in taking matters into their own hands to ensure the safety of their congregations.
Pastor Kevin Bernat with New Life Assembly and Pastor Jeffrey Kovach with Calvary Bible Church realize that churches are a target-rich environment for any deranged gunman looking to wreak havoc. The two men have are in the middle of acquiring their concealed carry permits but have hit some roadblocks. Now, they’re reaching out to the New Jersey Second Amendment Society for help.
“As time goes by, I’m becoming more and more uncomfortable about the safety and security of the church,” said Kovach.
Kovach and Bernat separately reached out to NJ2AS President Alexander Roubain to express their concerns. Both pastors are trying to protect their flocks in a legal way, but the state is making their journey extremely difficult.
“New Jersey legislators do not want people to be able to carry a firearm and defend themselves,” said Roubain.
There are only about 1,600 approved concealed carry permits in New Jersey, and few of those are “regular citizens.” The process is not only lengthy, but also costly, requiring applicants to go through numerous hoops and hurdles like paying $550 for a psychological evaluation.
“They told me about their insane experiences in dealing with the New Jersey gun laws and how local authorities would make up rules which clearly violate [state] statutes,” said Roubain.
Bernat and Kovach were spurred into seeking an concealed carry permit after Charleston church shooting in South Carolina. Since then, both pastors have been looking for ways to better protect their church.
“Imagine that a criminal goes into a church while service is being conducted, starts stabbing and killing people, and the pastor should just call the police,” Roubain said. “If that is not the definition of insanity, then I do not know what is.”
(This article was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)