When tragedy struck at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, only two questions could be asked: “Why” and “How?” Police say the Samson was a legal resident who arrived in the US in 1996 and up to Sunday morning, worked as a security guard for Crimson Security in Nashville.

Violence in church continues

The shooting was just the latest in a string of similar, but unrelated incidents which have become commonplace at religious institutions in the US. Six people were killed at a Wisconsin Sikh temple in 2012, three were slain at a Kansas Jewish center and retirement home in 2014 and 9 church members were murdered in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.

Fox News says churches are now seeking consultants’ help with heightened security measures since defending themselves from criminals is usually not on the minds of churchgoers. In the event of an attack, there really are no weapons in church and usually, just one exit which would be right in the line of fire.

The right to gun possession

Author ofMore Guns, Less Crime,’ John Lott, believes that Americans should be allowed to defend themselves by carrying guns. He says nearly 16.4 million Americans already have the right to carry firearms publicly and that fact alone contributes to lower crime rates. Stanford University Law Professor John Donohue however, disagrees, telling Fox News that carrying hidden guns "substantially elevates violent crime rates, but seems to have no impact on property crime and murder rates." The right to gun access has sparked a controversial debate in the US and Congress is currently working on a new law in its favor.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 would allow an eligible person to carry a concealed handgun in any state where it’s legal.

Taking precautions

Church officials across the US lamented that due to the open nature of houses of worship, protection is difficult. People can usually enter at any time and with anyone, no questions asked.

Due to these ongoing attacks, however, the practice of being open all the time may have to change. David Benson, an Orlando security consultant says several measures can be taken by churches to protect their membership. These include “installing surveillance cameras, hiring armed guards or allowing members who are trained, licensed civilians, to carry handguns.” Benson believes each institution should have a designated security committee to monitor the situation and upgrade as it becomes necessary.

Prayers are needed

Sunday’s incident could have been even worse, had church usher Robert Caleb Engle not confronted the gunman. During a scuffle, Samson accidentally shot himself, giving authorities time to respond. Many have hailed Engle as a hero but he says the credit must go instead to first responders, police and medical staff who helped those affected. Samson, who is 25 years old has been charged with felony homicide and is being held without bond. Engle says prayers should be said for Samson and his family who must be hurting at this time.